Sippin’ Cough Syrup

Kristin became addicted to drugs and over-the-counter medicine in high school. After a court-ordered rehab program, she entered college and hopes to graduate in 2013. She wrote this when she was 18.

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on June 15, 2012
3 min read

I was 15 or 16 when I first tried getting high on cough medicine. I had some issues to work out, and I guess at the time I didn’t want to, so I thought getting messed up would be better.

I kind of knew about cough medicine from TV, so I got a bottle out of our medicine cabinet and I drank like the whole bottle. It was like being really, really drunk. At first, I didn’t do it very often, but I started doing it more frequently -- like a couple of times a week.

Once I realized that I’d be using it more often, I had to go to the store and buy it myself. I was so young then and certain stores wouldn’t sell it to me, so I’d have to have people I knew who were older get it for me.

At the time, I was just starting high school, and my friends who were my age didn’t really know what I was doing. The older kids were the ones who were getting messed up, so I became friends kind of secretly with them. They bought stuff for me, and that’s how I got into other things too. I was drinking a lot, and I started taking Oxycontin and morphine pills.

I started doing badly in school and my grades started going down. I’d been a straight-A student and school was really important to me, but I was almost failing. Then I’d keep pulling my grades back up and keep it from my parents.

They had no idea! I finally had to come clean to them when I got arrested. I stole something from a teacher and she ended up finding out and called the police. When I told my parents I’d been doing drugs for years, they were dumbfounded.

My mom knew that my grades were going down, but I’d be like, “Oh, school’s just getting harder. I’m in high school and it’s tougher.” And then I’d get them back up. I was never home, and I stayed in my room pretty much when I was home. They always thought I was studying with friends.

The judge sent me to a place called the Lexington Center for Recovery to get sober. Now I have to do something called “treatment court.” If I don’t stay sober, they can detain me for three or four days. If I complete the treatment program, they’ll lower some of my charges.

In treatment, I’ve been doing the program for four months now, but I’ve only been sober for five weeks. I’ve cut off all my friends who were using. It’s hard, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

I wish that I had never started in the first place because when you do, once is never enough. It’s not worth it. You’re just going to end up dying or in jail.