by Lauren Gard
Perfectly healthy kids swigging Robitussin and its cough-quenching comrades to catch a buzz is hardly breaking news - although it appeared to be to the headline writer at the Oakland Trib who titled an article about the habit's rising popularity: "Study: Teenagers take cough syrup to get high." (Apparently said staffer was not an angst-filled teenager in the 1980s or 1990s.) According to the state poison control hotline, the number of cough-syrup-related calls soared from 23 in 1999 to 375 in 2004, and the most popular product teens are downing is actually not cough syrup, but Coricidin HPB Cough & Cold tablets. Robitussin products - including cough syrup - rank second. Fairly interesting stuff. But the best part of the story is a quote from a toxicologist who points out that cough syrup "lacks the stigma of cocaine or heroin." Woah - now that's breaking news!