Addicts turning to anti-diarrhea medicine

A new study suggests anti-diarrhea medicine, like Imodium, is being abused by drug addicts and it has led to at least two deaths. (WHAM)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHAM) - Imodium could soon be harder to find at some pharmacies.

A new study posted in the Annals of Emergency Medicine shows anti-diarrhea medicine, like Imodium, is being abused by drug addicts, and has led to at least two deaths.

The study shows that between 2011 and 2015, the Upstate New York Poison Control Center, which covers all of Upstate New York, saw a seven-fold increase in calls for people abusing Loperamide. That's the main ingredient in Imodium, and it is also an opioid.

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The scenario of abusing over-the-counter medications is one Lisa, whose son is battling a heroin addiction, is far too familiar with.

"It's a monster, it's very powerful," said Lisa. "He used a lot of cough medicine, Sudafed, Robitussin, over-the-counter stuff."

The results of the study surprised one local pharmacy. The Livonia Lakeview Pharmacy pulled its anti-diarrhea medication off the shelf.

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"We're always looking for new things, but this is a new find," said manager Erron Brooks. "We'll keep it behind the pharmacy, and if people need it, we'll sell it."

Some experts would like to see regulations similar to those for Sudafed.

Lisa would rather the focus be on treatment and helping those battling addiction.

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"He doesn't want to be that person, but it's two-sided," she said. "There's the person that tells mom and dad he's fine, and then there is the addict."

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