Several CVS stores in Lee County have reported thousands of dollars worth of Mucinex cough medicine stolen from their shelves, according to recent reports from the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Over $2,000 worth of the medicine was stolen from a CVS on Tamiami Trail in south Fort Myers earlier this week, and almost $2,700 worth of Mucinex was stolen from another CVS on South Point Boulevard.
But why are people stealing Mucinex?
"Used in high quantities, it has hallucinatory effects," said Maggie Baldwin, a drug treatment specialist at the David Lawrence Center in Naples.
"They would be looking for the Mucinex that has the ingredient Dextromethorphan," Baldwin added. "So it would be Mucinex DM which has that particular ingredient."
Baldwin said that taking too high of a dose can be dangerous.
"If folks are using it in lower doses, you'll see slurred speech, increased heart rate...some physiological effects," she said. "At a higher dose is when you'll see hallucinatory effects, and in a really high dose, a possible fatal overdose."
Mucinex DM bottles come with a warning to parents about medicine abuse, and refer them to the web site StopMedicineAbuse.org. According to that site, about one out of every 30 teens report abusing excessive amounts of Dextromethorphan, or DMX, to get high.
Baldwin's advice to parents: talk to your kids.
"We know that when teenagers learn about drug use from their parents, they're 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs," she said.