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Over The Counter Drug Rehabs & Detox by State

Over The Counter Drug Rehabs & Detox by State

Over The Counter Drug Detox In The United States

Cough and cold medication can be procured without a prescription to a pharmacy. These medications when they contain DXM or CODEINE are very addictive.

Please note: medications containing DXM when taken with “non-drowsy” allergy medication can cause respiratory failure and other life-threatening effects.

DXM is particularly addictive, and the withdrawals can be life threatening due to the effect it has upon the motor controls of the brain. Therefore, coma, respiratory failure, and schizophrenic-like symptoms can arise from both from over use and from withdrawing from it. Brain damage has been recorded from abusing this drug.

How could over the counter medications possibly be addictive?

Many over the counter drugs contain very small amounts of narcotics or addictive drugs within them. If an addict really wants to, they can consume enough to get a buzz or high off of it. They can be addictive in a sense where it can be an easy high when using large quantities and knowing the availability is always there.

Codeine is an opioid: however, unlike morphine it has a very high active absorption level when taken orally. Almost 90% of the drug taken retains its active characteristic after passing through the liver. Therefore, it is dangerously subject to overdose. Withdrawal symptoms from codeine can include insomnia, cramping, fever//chills, bleeding stomach, dehydration, body pain, headache.

Speak to a counselor at for a recommended drug detox program for over the counter addiction. The fact that it is procured without a prescription does not make it any less dangerous to detox from without assistance, and careful monitoring.

How long do over the counter drugs stay in your system?

Over the counter drugs can be of three types, which have different lengths of staying in the body.

  • Opioids: urine: 3-4 days, hair: 90 days, and blood: up to 12 hours.
  • Benzodiazepines: urine: 3-6 weeks, hair: up to 90 days, and blood: 2-3 days.
  • Amphetamines: urine: 1-3 days, hair: up to 90 days, and blood: about 12 hours.


Over the counter drugs, also known as OTCs, although are safer than illicit drugs, they can equally be as addictive and dangerous. When used with alcohol or other drugs, they can result in highly severe adverse effects putting the user's health at risk.

The misuse and abuse of these OTC drugs will lead to physical and psychological dependencies, just like any other narcotic drug. It can be very dangerous when OTC drugs are combined with prescription drugs, and it could potentially cause severe and adverse reactions.


The Food and Drug Administration has determined that these medicines have medical benefits for common everyday ailments. Because of this, these OTC drugs are safe in general, for consumption, when taken exactly as prescribed or directed. When the medicines are abused, they will then become a problem for the user, just as any other drug would be in this case.


Close to half of the over the counter drugs sold today, roughly 125 distinct products do contain dextromethorphan (DXM). This particular drug is a cough suppressant found in different products, which can be sold in a capsule form, liquid form, and/or bought on the Internet. It is very easy for young people to find on the Internet what dose of DXM will get them high. When DXM is used in large quantities, it will create some form of high for the user.


These types of drugs are very popular for teens between the ages of 13 and 16. Over the past two years there have been dozens of overdoses, and five deaths recorded due to OTC drugs. For example, the following products are over the counter medications, which can be addictive, and contain DXM.

The cost of these drugs is not high, which makes it easy for teens to access them. They can also find OTC drugs being sold on the Internet, and can also find what amounts to take in order to achieve a high. Many drug stores now have taken precautions to monitor the sale of over the counter meds. For example, access to certain products containing DXM is restricted, and limited amounts are sold to individuals.

In order to protect against over the counter drug abuse, parents should help educate their children on the dangers of these drugs. It is also a good idea to avoid overstocking these drugs in the house, and monitor the child's Internet use, and of course lead by a positive example.


Over the counter drugs include cough and cold medicines, diet pills, and pain analgesics. Depending on the amount taken, detox will be different for each person. Most withdrawal symptoms from OTC drugs are not life-threatening, but it is always recommended to speak to a healthcare professional or attend conventional detox.

Works cited – SAMHSA 5 Nov. 2006 31 May 2009 <>
Teen Drug Abuse 31 May 2009 <>



Dr. Rohit is a Diplomate of the American Society of Addiction Medicine who has been supervising successful detox for over 13 years.


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