The Laramie Police Department is currently investigating a December 3rd incident in which three juveniles between the ages of 12 and 15 were hospitalized after ingesting large doses of generic over the counter (OTC) antihistamines.

Four teenagers are reported to have stolen some, if not all, of the medications and purposely taken large doses. The misuse of OTC medications can lead to serious bodily harm including cardiac arrest, ventricular dysrhythmias, coma and death in some cases. According to the LPD four juveniles took large doses of antihistamines and one youth also took a large dose of cough medicine.

Due to their age, there is not a whole lot of additional information available on this incident. This is a serious event that the juveniles initiated but did not know the dangers of OTC medications they took. The ‘look’ of those that take this type of OTC to excess, is much like intoxication but there would be no smell of alcohol on their breath and may have accompanying behavior that does not match intoxication. Any over the counter drug containing DXM and/or Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride taken to excess can cause severe damage to organs of the body.
-LPD Commander Mitch Cushman

Directions and usage of Prescription and OTC medications should always be followed as misuse could lead to serious bodily consequences. In recent years the LPD has participated in drug take back days in which the public is given a chance to dispose of any unwanted and unused medications. The drug take back days are a great way to prevent the misuse of medications.

Parents should be alert to the availability of over the counter medications and the potential for abuse. OTC medications should be administered with adult supervision and their access, in and outside of the home should be controlled.