A Williamson County mother says her son and his friends are regular shoplifters who steal cough medicine to get high.
She wants pharmacies and supermarkets to put the cold medicine out of reach.
"They take this stuff. They take so much of it. They literally trip out," she told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.
The woman doesn't want to be identified, but she has a warning for all parents tonight.
"They are just mush. You can tell their brains are mush," she said.
Her 17-year-old son and his friends have been shoplifting cough syrup and drinking entire bottles to get a high, which is known as "robo tripping".
According to Web sites dedicated to the problem, the high creates a dissociative state akin to hallucinating.
"I want it off the shelves. I want it harder for kids to be able to get," the woman said.
When confronted with the fact that putting the medication behind the counter might inconvenience other shoppers, the woman said that she doesn't think it is any harder to go to the counter and ask for it.
"I am angry, sad, frustrated that this stuff is on the counter," she added.
Dextromethorphan is the active ingredient in most medications used for suppressing coughs. It in turn suppresses the central nervous system, so large quantities can be fatal.
Brenda Williams with the Tennessee Medical Association writes:
"Physicians represented by our association are keenly aware of the problem posed by addictive drugs, those that are restricted as well as those that currently are not. In seeking legislative and regulatory answers, our parallel concern is the unintended consequences of our ‘solutions.'"
She continues, "When we put certain commonly-used drugs behind lock and key, those folks who are determined to abuse drugs simply move on to something else that is not yet restricted. And on and on it goes. We have to maintain a sensible balance between access to care and protecting patients from harm."
The woman said that she has made calls to Representative Marsha Blackburn and Senator Lamar Alexander's office.