Chicago, IL-You've probably heard a lot of talk in the media lately about the dangers of giving over the counter cough and cold medications to young children and how the FDA has recommended that drug companies stop making them for children under 6. You may even be familar with some of the studies showing that these medications don't appear to even work when given to kids. But does any of this even matter? Are stressed mothers of snotty nosed toddlers going to stop reaching for the robitussin or triaminic?
Of course not, because in their minds these medications are the only thing that work. Only now, instead of being considered a caring parent who simply wants their child to be comfortable enough to sleep, they are now going to be labeled as criminals. As we speak, new laws are being drafted that will lock these well meaning parents up for years in some cases.
Across the nation, underground black markets are being established where suburban housewives, career moms, and stay at home dads alike can go for their fix of children's antihistamines and cough suppressants, or "drip" as they are known on the street. One such father, who I won't identify for fear of criminal prosecution, said that this is his only recourse, driving into a bad neighborhood to buy cough syrup from the same man who sells crack to prostitutes.
Local police are at a loss, suprised by the rapidity of the emergence of these so-called "drip houses" and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of traffic to them. Officer Scott Parkman of the LAPD revealed that "I guess if you've got something that until a few weeks ago was given 3.8 billion times a year legally you are going to have a problem when all of a sudden that something is labeled as off limits."
Derik Scott, who has quit dealing crack to focus on the now more lucrative drip market, couldn't be happier with the FDA's ruling. "Man, I don't know the FDA from triple A but I know that the color of snot and money is both green. I get these parents pulling up now in their SUV's with 3 or 4 kids strapped in the back, hacking up a lung and faces smeared with mucus and you can just see the desperation on their faces. And I got just what they need. Sometimes one of 'em might get scared, drive off, but I know they'll be back."
(Listen to a reading of this post by a pediatrician known as Dr. Clay on the Podcast Doctors Unmedicated)