Philadelphia officials are grappling with what they call the latest trend in teen substance abuse: ingesting legal drugs like dextromethorphan (DXM) purchased over the internet.

DXM--an ingredient in over-the-counter cough syrups--is easy to get but when misused can be just as deadly as any illegal substance, said Sgt. Philip Bueki, a Pennsylvania state Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) coordinator.

In January, four Conestoga High School sophomores were hospitalized after ingesting DXM purchased through the internet by two classmates. The four, all girls, were treated and released.

While DXM doses found in cough syrup can alter the body's


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