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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.


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.

Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Services for Acetaminophen Addiction in the United States

Acetaminophen is found in over the counter pain medication, such as Tylenol and Excedrin. The drug reduces fever and suppresses mild pain. Acetaminophen is used to treat arthritis, headaches, muscle aches, back pain, colds, and fevers. It falls under a class of drugs called analgesics and antipyretics, which reduce symptoms of a fever. In small regulated doses and taken as directed, the drug is not toxic to the body. However, in larger amounts acetaminophen can overwhelm the body's ability to detoxify itself. Essentially, when it is passed through the liver, it will kill liver cells, damage liver tissue, and cause liver damage. Acetaminophen can be compared to ibuprofen, but this drug is different from how it reduces pain.

Acetaminophen can become addictive when looking at the broader definition of addiction, and a few key terms. The regular use or daily use of the drug does create a tolerance within the body. Tolerance is caused by regular exposure to any type of drug. Over time the body develops a resistance to the drug, and larger dosages are required, more frequently to maintain levels within the body. This is one of the most common side effects with any type of drug use. Moreover, when you start to take larger and more frequent doses of the drug, this is what leads to overdose.

An overdose with acetaminophen is possible, and there are several side effects. The primary overdose effects involve liver damage and death caused by drug toxicity. Like many other types of drugs, mixing acetaminophen with alcohol does increase the risk for an overdose. With extended use of acetaminophen, the body does develop a dependency for it. The body becomes accustomed to the amount of acetaminophen within it. Drug dependency does create withdrawal symptoms, and despite the withdrawal symptoms from acetaminophen not being severe, they can become problematic. Withdrawal symptoms can include migraines, headaches, vomiting, nausea, and cravings for the drug. Over the counter pain medications such as these are commonly abused. They are readily available for purchase and are easy to get.

The risk of abuse is quite high, and once a tolerance develops, the user must continue to take more to manage this tolerance. This leads to problems with the liver, and severe liver damage can occur. Symptoms of liver damage include yellowing of skin or eyes, nausea, pain in the abdomen, loss of appetite, dark urine, and stool, and unusual bleeding and bruising. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, acetaminophen addiction causes about 60,000 overdoses each year in the United States. Acetaminophen addiction requires the proper help and treatment, such as a detox, and some type of outpatient therapy. There are always underlying issues connected to any drug or alcohol addiction, and therapy helps users find these issues. Many of the drug and alcohol treatment programs within the United States help people who are abusing over the counter pain medications.

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.


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 <>


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Marcel Gemme

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people.