Walker Valley students hospitalized; prescription drug abuse to blame
By Jonquil Newland, Weekend Today Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Bradley County Sheriff's Deputies were called to Walker Valley High School Friday morning after two freshman reportedly overdosed on muscle relaxers and cough syrup.
Medical experts say abusing cough syrup, in particular, is becoming more popular among teenagers. "Supposedly at high doses it will give you this extreme high, with hallucinations and things along that line," Pharmacist Michelle Hooton says.
Bradley County School leaders tell Channel 3 they believe the students took the medicine before they got to school but would not say where they believe the drugs came from. Once the young men got to school officials say they ingested more medicine and were found unconscious in a bathroom.
"You typically will have coma type symptoms with an overdose situation," says Hooton.
Hooton says muscle relaxers and cough syrup are a central nervous system depressant. "The more that you take of it, it's going to slow down your breathing of course," Hooton explains.
Most types of cough syrup can be purchased over the counter; however muscle relaxers need a prescription and can be deadly if used improperly. "You've paralyzed your diaphragm, you can't breathe, so you suffocate," says Hooton.
On Friday evening it was not clear what condition the two boys were in. Hooton says the incident is just one more reason why she believes common cold medicine like Robitussin will end up behind the counters, "I think the cough medicine is headed that way."
Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel expresses his concern for the students and their families.