Cough Syrup

Cough syrup was the greatest. It was relatively cheap, legal, and easy to get. I didn’t have to wait for townies to sell the Werewolf and I morphine or go to my super sketchy drug dealer’s house. I just drove to CVS. At first I was careful to be discrete with my purchases. I made sure to convincingly cough at the check-out and bought cough drops at the same time. I rotated between drug stores so the cashiers wouldn’t start to recognize me. It took awhile for me to muster the courage to buy two bottles at the same time. I would go to two different stores if I needed two bottles. I was also scared that someone would question me. Didn’t you get this last time? Two bottles? You know there’s abuse potential for this, don’t you? The only thing I ever got asked was for my id. And that was rare. Towards the end I was comfortable enough to boldly buy three at once, defiant and ready to snap at anyone who dared to comment.

Ironically, I had never tried cough syrup until one of my innocent, not-even-pot-smoking friends gave me the idea. Moreover, she would be horrified if she knew that she was the reason I got into cough syrup. I started to feel sick in a class that we had together and she offered me her cough syrup from when she was sick earlier that week. “Be careful, it made me really loopy.” Instantly, I was interested. I asked her what kind it was and I started scouring the internet for info about getting high on it. It turned out that you couldn’t really get high off the kind she had, there wasn’t any DXM in it. However, I quickly learned about Robitussin and was glad to find that they make it in capsule form now. The first time I got high off of it (I really was sick that time) it took me less than a whole bottle (~300 mgs) to get high. And I loved the high. I’ve never found anything dirty about it and at the time I was fascinated by how high it got me, something that was so easy– and legal– to get. I had a new drug in my arsenal.

My friends hated it. At this point, I had already started to hide some of my drug use from them. They all knew I was a stoner but not all of them knew that I was involved with anything harder– and the ones that did certainly didn’t want to hear about it. I learned how to hide it from them. How to overcome the outward forgetfulness that often stopped me in the middle of a sentence, unable to finish, or even remember, what I’d been saying. I was more cognizant of keeping my eyes alert but not too wide. I avoided talking at length to mask how out of it I was. And I definitely avoided standing. I’m a magnet for the floor when I’m on that stuff. I was so high one time that I fell down and as soon I was on the ground I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how I’d gotten there.

I started the binge around Monday or Tuesday of fall break, when we had a full week off of school. I usually (tried) to devote the time to studying and outlining for finals. I had gone to visit the Ex and that hadn’t gone well– although I did a considerable amount of molly while I was there. I left in a bad mood and was back in town by early afternoon. I think I just started smoking when I got home, even though it wasn’t even five o’clock. I was in fuck-it mode. I popped some lorazepam and got a bottle or two of cough gels. Hell, I even had a cocktail or two and I wasn’t even drinking then. I got high all by myself and had a fabulous time. I woke up the next morning and had my hands into the stash by noon.

This was not good for my physical or mental health. DXM interferes with mood medication and exacerbates mental illness– a double whammy for me. By Thursday evening my friends were concerned. I was crying for no reason, fucked up all the time and I struggled to keep myself upright when I peeled myself off the couch to walk across the room.

I checked into inpatient treatment for depression that Friday evening, still high as a kite from ingesting copious amounts of DXM, and crying like my dog had just died. And, I soon found out, it was not at all like I had imagined/hoped it would be.


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