Sunday, July 1, 2012 • 11:05am
This past year, two 17-year-old local High School boys were arrested and charged after they were caught on video surveillance, shoplifting. The juveniles were in a local Pharmacy in Sparta late in the afternoon when they were recorded stealing bottles of Robitussin. The investigation conducted by Officer Mark Mastandrea revealed that a group of juveniles were outside the store when the two boys decided to steal the Robitussin to share among them. The two were charged with a Juvenile Delinquency Complaint alleging the offense of Shoplifting.
However, it’s the motivation behind this growing trend of this type of petty theft that is most concerning. Six-years ago, according to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s 18th annual study of teen drug abuse on May 16, 2006 in Washington, D.C. The report stated, “The intentional abuse of prescription (Rx) and over-the counter (OTC) medications to get high is now entrenched behavior among today’s teen population.”
The study goes on to confirm that “Generation Rx” has arrived in our respective communities as an alarming number of today’s teenagers are more likely to have abused Rx and OTC medications than a variety of illegal drugs like Ecstasy, Cocaine, Crack and Methamphetamines.”
Robitussin is a popular line of very effective cold and cough medicines currently produced by Pfizer. According to the ingredients on the back of the bottle, over the counter Robitussin contains Guaifenssin an expectorant and Dextromethorphan a cough suppressant. You can also purchase this medication with codeine but that requires a prescription. If taken as prescribed Robitussin is a medically safe and easy, effective way to battle coughs and colds and to acquire some much needed relief and rest.
However like any type of medication when used outside the purpose of what the medication was designed for, a person makes a dangerous and reckless personal choice. Like all substance abuse, the drug of choice whether it is legal to purchase or unlawful to possess, the method of acquisition most of the time, is the jump off point of turning curious people who want to “just experiment” into a potential life threatening dependency which can lead to criminal behavior and a downward spiral of deterioration of the user’s physical, emotional and mental health.
“Robotripping” Is the slang term for the effects of abusing large quantities of Dextromethophan. The “high” that is acquired can make the heart race and blood pressure rise.
Some who are “Robotripping” become agitated, others lethargic, confused, and dizzy or become inebriated. Life-threatening side-effects include seizures and elevated body temperature. The risk and the danger to the community and the individual significantly increase should that person in this condition gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or if they’re in a position of authority over others or entrusted with someone else’s well-being and care.
Drug abuse is thought by some as a victimless crime. Nothing could be more untrue. Narcotics activity usually dictates the trend in Thefts and Property Crimes. In Sparta Township, Detectives are finding that residential burglars have found at times, that the present day jewels and valuables are your prescription and over the counter medications. Safeguard them; along with Parental Guidance, Supervision, Vigilance and Love will help safeguard your children.
If you have any information pertaining to narcotics or any criminal behavior you can call the Sparta Police Detective Bureau at (973) 729-3017. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential. For emergencies please dial 9-1-1. For non emergencies and information requests please call (973) 729-6121
-Sgt. John-Paul Beebe
Sparta Township Police Department
John-Paul Beebe, Sergeant/Public Affairs Officer with the Sparta Police Department, is 52 years old, has been a resident of Sparta Township for 45 years, and has served on the department for the past 24 years. He lives in Sparta with wife Brenda, 13-year-old son Dylan, and daughters Jenna, age 10, and Gracie, age 8.
Prior to being a Police Officer, Beebe served five years in the United Sates Coast Guard, as Public Affairs Specialist Petty Officer 3rd Class.
Beebe is a graduate of the Rev George A. Brown Memorial School, Pope John XXIII Regional High School Class of 79, and attended Seton Hall University.
He is a Journalism and Photo Journalism graduate of the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Beebe is the former Assistant Football, Basketball and Track Coach at Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Currently Football Coach and Board Member of Sparta Little League Football.
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