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By Erin Smith

As the cost of addiction increases, more addicts are starting to turn to over-the-counter medications to get high or to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.

Rebecca Hester, owner of the Medicine Shoppe in Bladenboro, said the active ingredient in anti-diarrhea medications is loperamide which is an opiate itself.

“It hits the same receptors in the body as Morphine and Oxycodone,” said Hester.

She explained that less than one percent of the drug is actually absorbed into the brain itself. Hester said opiates work by attaching themselves to the MU receptors in the brain. This triggers a response in the brain that makes the individual high.

In order to produce a euphoric reaction from a medication such as Immodium, an individual would have to consume large doses. Hester said some people could possibly inject or snort the medication, but most people will simply take a massive dose. According to The Atlantic, there have been accounts of individuals mixing large doses of Immodium into smoothies and drinking them.

Hester said when an individual consumes a large enough does of loperamide to become high, can also experience serious side effects such as a change in your heart’s natural rhythm or even a heart attack.

“It is an opiate, but when it is taken in the recommended dose, it helps your gut,” said Hester.

Some symptoms to be aware of in someone who may have consumed large doses is as follows:

*Slurred speech;

*trouble sleeping;

*their pupils appear tiny;

*an irregular heartbeat.

Loperamide is available under the name of Imodium but there are also generic forms labeled simply as loperamide.