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‘Robo-tripping’ sends five Rowan County children to hospital

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SALISBURY, N.C. — Five Rowan County children had to be rushed to the hospital after they took over-the-counter pills at their Salisbury school, according to WSOC-TV.

“We took like nine all at once,” David Alberta said.

Alberta is a ninth-grader at Henderson Independent High School and said he tried to get high with some other kids, but he learned a tough lesson.

“I couldn't walk,” Alberta said. “I couldn't feel anything. I was numb. My parents showed up, and they saw me in the hospital like that.”

He said he doesn’t know what he took. The school said it was over-the-counter cold medicine. Five kids were taken from Henderson to a hospital because of it.

“If they hadn't been in the school environment then there's no telling what could have happened to those children,” said Karen South Jones, the director of the Rowan County Youth Services Bureau.

She said there's a big trend in kids abusing over-the-counter drugs nationwide, including robotussin. It's called "robo-tripping."

“Kids tend to take those over-the-counter drugs at much higher dosages,” Jones said. “The impacts of those can mimic things like PCP and other drugs.”

Experts said the effects can be deadly and because the drugs aren't prescribed, kids have easy access.

“We talk to our kids about illegal drug use, and we talk to our kids about prescription drug use,” Jones said. “Now we need to talk to our kids about over-the-counter drug use.”


  • Cindy

    So they go to their lockers and get their drugs….after this, all kids’ lockers need to be checked for drugs of any kind! The parents need to check their kids backpacks from now on and take away privileges!

    • hans

      You know I have to agree with you. But What this article doesn’t tell people is that the drug they took to get high was not life threatening and (DXM) alone is a fairly safe drug. Unless the syrup also contained guaifenesin, or acetaminophen. And even at the dose the kid took it wasn’t enough to get him high todays cough meds contain large amounts of sweeteners to overpower the taste of the other drugs the kids probably just had really upset stomachs. I believe what the kids didn’t know is that DXM is a dissociative even in small quantities you can’t function around other people because you’re mind separates you from the world.

  • Cindy

    DXM is only safe if used as recommended, however, the kids think they know everything….I hoped they puked their guts out! Stupid is as stupid does!

    • hans

      Cindy in retrospect to other other drugs that the kids could have been using it is safe. Now with all due respect your theory could be the same with just about anything but the recommended dose and the dose needed for the drug to actually become dangerous is very different. For example you’re only supposed to take less than 800mg of acetaminophen a day but you can actually take a dose in the area of 5,000 mgs at one time and be fine so long as you don’t redose multiple times or do it everyday. The human body is incredibly tolerant of what substances we put in it. For just about any drug it take repeated long term use to cause the adverse effects that really get people. I don’t advocate drugs and I don’t want to sound like I do but what I do advocate is knowledgeable use of drugs because lets face it most kids are going to try them.

  • news2me

    Please please please…if you are going to create not use that ugly “F” word !!!!!

    Some of what you wrote is quite creative and would be better without the ugly word.

    I especially like the “I feel so low from living high”…quite the thinker you are..

    • hans

      People on here bashing drugs and talking about kids is kind of funny considering you were all a kid some years ago along with I. Now I think it’s pretty stupid for a kid to be getting high from cough meds but if they look at the bottle to see what’s in it first it’s relatively safe compared to many street drugs. In fact DXM is safer than benadryl, acetaminophen, and a ton of other OTC drugs. You guys would just rather condemn the kids and their parents than actually know the truth about the drug they are taking. Just like the lady above post about people legalizing pot I’m willing to bet she knows absolutely nothing about medicinal uses for pot or the laws in place to prevent reckless recreation use in states like colorado. So do some research before you start flailing at the mouth about things you have no clue about. It’s so irritating to see people put down others for stuff that doesn’t even affect them in anyway because they believe whatever it is put into the media to get riled up about a subject and it’s petty as could be.

    • hans

      If you don’t like the F uck word you should probably not be on the internet you ignoramus. I mean really come on trying to tell someone else what they should say and think because you don’t like it. Pretty pitiful if you ask me. Also just incase you didn’t know there are also subterms of what f uck means not just sexual stuff.

  • FaithC

    The problem is parents don’t talk to their kids at all. They choose the non-parenting way of parenting. Parents don’t want to believe their child will ever do anything like this, well if you don’t talk to them about it how will they have a chance of saying no?

  • Triple Aught

    Da De Dum De Dum Dum Dum,
    Buy Farmers!

    (for the not so bright, TV has raised kids for at least 2, if not 3 generations now).

    Drinking Robotussen to get high is plumb pitiful.
    These kids need 90 days of Court Ordered Rehab for this.

    If they will drink Robotussen to get high,
    they will take or use anything that comes down the pike.

    90 Days, Court Ordered Rehab…

  • B

    Stupid kids and this is what life is all about for some. Lets go take some drugs and get high. What do you expect when adults legalize marijuana. It sends a “get high” and “feel good” message to children.

  • GC

    If you actually spend time around high school students, it is amazing how many of them talk constantly about getting high and/or getting drunk. And what is even more surprising is how many of them say that their parents are the ones who buy tobacco and alcohol for them.

  • Paul Letbetternash

    BUT if they could have just bought some safe naturally grown pot those kids would have been safe. The drug war on POT is fueling these crazy dangerous substitutes. POT is SAFE, Tobacco is not remind me which is legal?

  • john howe

    guaifenesin(in some cold medicines,and medicines that have dxm in it,i guess so people will get sick instead of high) will make you sick in large amounts,i don`t know if it is dangerous though.they use to have to(the government made them?) put guaifenesin with ephedrine(mini-thins).

    • hans

      It is an antihistamine and doesn’t really make the person sick it’s make you drowsy/sleepy like benadryl/motion sickness pills. I large quantities it can cause extreme body discomfort.

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