RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Addicts are getting a new Heroin-like high from a drug you probably have in your home right now.
It sounds a little ridiculous, but a new study shows that addicts are using a lot of Imodium - a diarrhea treatment medicine - to achieve the same high they were getting from heroin.
NBC 12's Drew Wilder went to CVS and was able to buy Imodium over the counter, with no restriction on how much you can buy.
The active drug is called Loperamide, and users are taking anywhere from 50 to 300 tablets to achieve the same high they were getting from heroin.
David Rook, Operations Manager for the McShin Foundation, says this has actually been going on for years.
"It was common knowledge amongst opiate addicts that if they went into withdrawal, they could eat a high amount of Imodium to offset the withdrawal symptoms."
And when he says a lot of Imodium, he means it. New studies reveal users are taking upwards of 300 Imodium pills to get enough of the opiate - which can be, and in a few cases has been, a fatal dose.
"It sounds insane, and it is insane," said Rook.
And the Imodium is easy to get.
"It is! You know, it is. It's not regulated, it's cheap, it's not monitored by anybody so you can go and you can buy it high levels -- high quantities and you can do what you want with it, so it's easier," said Rook.
A 12-caplet box retails under $8 at the store, but online, we found boxes of 400 caplets for the same price.
"They regulate sudafed, so it may be a situation where maybe they have to start regulating or maybe put it behind the counter, or signing the DEA list to buy it or regulating how much you can buy," said Rook. "You know, I think that anything we can do to curb this crisis, we need to look at and take advantage of."
Someone feeling like they need to take 300 anti-diarrhea pills to achieve their high really gives you an understanding of how serious this addiction to heroin and opiates is.
Rook says users will try and steal as many of these off the shelves as they can, because it's not behind the counter.
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