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Is it Safe to Take Cough Medicine for Recovering Addicts

cough medicine for addicts

People who are feeling a bit under the weather, caught the common cold, or are struggling with a cough from a mild case of coronavirus are often quick to turn to their medicine cabinets for help.

While cough medicine may provide fast relief for some, for others these medicines could potentially mean trouble down the road.

Cough Medicine & Addiction

Although a shot of tequila is far different from a dose of cough medicine for most people, for someone who just left our Philly alcohol treatment center, they may be flirting with danger. Many cough medicines contain a small percentage of alcohol. For most people, the amount is insignificant, but for recovering alcoholics, even a small amount could be problematic. Cold and cough medicines that contain alcohol such as Nyquil and Benadryl may be the first misstep that leads to relapse.

Besides just alcohol, cough syrups and medications can sometimes contain other ingredients that can be abused or used to get high such as dextromethprphan (DXM) or codeine. In some cases, some people can even become addicted to cough medicine if they consume it frequently and in large amounts. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to cough medicine abuse because it is easy to access and less intimidating than harder drugs like heroin or cocaine. One survey from 2019 found that 3.2% of 8th graders had admitted to misusing cough or cold medicine in the past year.1

If other people can become addicted to cough medicines, then why risk it if you are in recovery? Instead, there are safe cough medicines for recovering addicts available both over the counter and by prescription.

Safe Cold Medicine for Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery

Recovering addicts should look for cold and cough medicine that does not use the potentially addictive ingredients mentioned earlier. Several brands offer cold and cough medicine for recovering addicts to use safely, but you will have to read the label to know for sure. Some products are also marketed specifically as being alcohol-free.

This advice extends to other medications as well such as nasal sprays, laxatives, or painkillers whether they are over-the-counter medications or not. People who have previously gotten prescription drug addiction treatment need to be especially careful as they may be more prone to abuse these products than others. You can also consult with your doctor or an addiction specialist to be safe.

At our Philadelphia, PA drug rehab, we help people overcome their addictions to over-the-counter, prescription, and illicit drugs. Because substance abuse can be such a dangerous downward spiral, it is important to get help as soon as you realize that there is a problem.

If you or someone you care about struggles with substance abuse, call us today at 888-280-4763. At Banyan Philadelphia, we are here to help.

Sources & References:

  1. NIDA- Cough and Cold Medicines

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.