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Minors must not get hands on dangerous medicines

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-07 08:22
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Dextromethorphan is a medicine that can curb coughing by controlling the nerves, but if taken in large quantity it can affect the functioning of the respiratory system, causing death. That's why, to check its overuse, its status was changed from an over-the-counter medicine to a prescription one in December 2021. A year later, in December 2022, its online sale was prohibited to minimize possible risks.

However, the restrictions have not worked, as the police in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, found four minors overdosing on the medicine after an online invitation to attend a gathering. There have even been reports of a journalist successfully purchasing a box of dextromethorphan from a local pharmacy.

On social networking sites, using the hashtag#DM, a number of young people have shared how they overdosed on the medicine and went into a dizzy spell. This shows how young minds are easily lured into trying new things without realizing how dangerous they may be.

This shows that the risk of young people taking harmful pharmaceutical drugs that can endanger their lives is very much real. While it's the job of society to prevent such drugs from reaching the hands of vulnerable youth, that they can be bought from pharmacies without any prescription shows how big a loophole exists in the net to shield people from their misuse.

The loophole needs to be plugged in order to better protect the young people. The pharmacies need better regulation and those violating the law deserve exemplary punishment so that others dare not sell such medicines illegally for profit. Social networking sites, too, need to be regulated for comments about people taking drugs.

Society is responsible for protecting minors from harmful drugs and it's time they honored that responsibility.


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