Boy suspected of providing cold meds won’t be charged

A boy suspected of providing three girls at a Morgan Hill middle school with cold medicine that landed them in a hospital will not be arrested or charged, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

The girls, ranging from 12 to 13 years old, became nauseous on Monday after ingesting about 12 Coricidin brand over-the-counter cold tablets at Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill, police Capt. Jerry Neumayer said. The school notified police and the girls were later transported to Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, where they were treated and later released, according to police.

Police determined that the girls had purchased the medication from a boy who is a student at the same middle school, Neumayer said. Even though people must be 18 or older to buy Coricidin, the boy will not be arrested because it is not against the law to have it, Neumayer said:

“These kinds of pills, it’s not illegal to possess them. … We don’t have anything to charge him with.”

Officials at Britton Middle School, located at 80 W. Central Ave., will handle the boy’s case administratively based on the public education code, he said.

On Tuesday, Morgan Hill Unified School District superintendent Steve Betando said in a statement that the girls who abused the legal drugs had viewed people taking the medicine on YouTube and other social media sites.

Britton school officials sent emails to parents on Monday reporting the drug abuse and asking them to talk with their children about household medications, social media and the danger of exceeding the labeled dosages of cold medications, according to Betando.

School principal Glen Webb and his staff are producing a video for distribution explaining the physical effects of ingesting overdoses of the medicine and how social media promotes the misuse of them, he said. Neumayer said abuse of Coricidin by children is a national trend:

“This is something new for us and it’s happening all over the country. … These kids are either getting it from home or stealing it or buying it from other kids.”

Police are not sure how the juvenile suspect at Britton obtained the tablets, he said. Police are now consulting with the Morgan Hill Unified School District on a training and awareness campaign to educate the public about Coricidin and other over-the-counter medications, which may be bought at stores without a doctor’s prescription, police said.

Coricidin, a medication used legitimately to treat colds, the common flu or upper respiratory allergies, commonly contains dextromethorphan and, when taken in large doses, produces hallucinations and a sense of dissociation, according to police.

Overdoses of the medications can result in hospitalizations and death, according to police. Common street terms for Coricidin include C-C-C, Cordies, Orange Crush, Red Devils, Skittles, DXM, Dex (for dextromethorphan), Vitamin D, Robo, Robo-trippin’, Candy and Robo-dosing, police said.