Boy found unconscious in ditch after mixing cough syrup, liquor

EUGENE, Ore. - Police found a boy who mixed cough syrup and hard liquor unconscious in a ditch along a bike path in West Eugene on Monday morning, and a father is asking the public to be aware of the problem.

James, who asked us not to use his last name to protect his son, says his Monday morning started with police knocking on his door.

His son's friend, who was supposed to be spending the night at his house, was reportedly in bad shape.

He went to his son's room and found the 13-year-old unconscious in his bed. "His eyes kept rolling in the back of his head," James said. "He'd straighten them out and then they'd roll back."

James says the boys stole two bottles of cough syrup and drank them with tequila.

Both boys were rushed to the hospital. "We got the to the E.R., I pulled the curtain back so he could see his friend hooked up the breathing machine, you know, completely unresponsive," said James.

Now that James has personally seen the misuse of cough medicines, he wants to see products like them behind the counter. "They put Sudafed like that behind the counter and you have to ask for it. But then there's things like this, where kids can put in their pocket."

Putting the medicine behind the counter might not be the solution, some officials say.

Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health says kids don't have to leave home to find a quick high. "The majority of it is coming from households, just take it out the medicine cabinet," Davis said.

James says he hopes parents can learn from his story. "The only reason I'm keeping my sanity, is by trying to see if there is anything I can do to save a few kids out there," he said.

Police said the concoction gained publicity through popular culture, leading some adolescents to experiment with it.

People under the influence of cough medicine and liquor often have droopy eyes, slowed speech, loss of coordination, cold and clammy skin, shallow respiration and uncontrolled eye movement.