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Melrose stores to restrict cold medicine sales after two students OD

Posted by Matt Byrne  April 5, 2011 12:00 PM

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Two students from Melrose were hospitalized for apparent overdoses late last month after they ingested large quantities of an over-the-counter cold medicine.

Now city stores have complied with a request to move the tablets behind the counter, a Melrose health official said today.

The students, who were not identified because they were underage, took the same substance -- Coricidin -- in separate incidents on March 27 and March 29, said Jennifer Kelly, substance abuse prevention coordinator.

The earlier of the two cases involved a Melrose Middle School student who ingested the substance at home on a Sunday away from school property, Kelly said. Both were hospitalized and are recovering.

"Twelve tabs at a time has psychedelic properties," said Kelly. "We went to all the pharmacies and grocery stores" where managers were compliant with her request to place the cheap, available substance behind store counters.

The second involved a Melrose High School student who was believed to have swallowed as many as 12 tablets before going to school that day. The student and another unidentified Melrose High School student were found later in the day at the Middle School, where administrators responded to their presence and found one was under the influence, said Robert Mann, the Melrose Police School Resource Officer.

Mann said the substance is often stolen from area stores and sold for $5 a box, which usually contains as many as 20 tablets of the drug.

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