September 7, 2017
Very many dangerous drugs are given to the public without tell them how dangerous they are. Little hidden label small print stuff is the excuse. As if anyone reads the 3,000 word insert in a packet of cold medicine. We tend to naturally believe that stores wouldn’t be selling us cold medicine that will give us LSD-like hallucinations.
At the same time though, I should note that I have never personally met anyone (who is currently) under the age of 40 who was both religious and normal.
A forensic toxicologist tells PEOPLE that the cold medicine taken by a North Carolina aspiring pastor accused of fatally stabbing his wife in the middle of the night can cause hallucinations in high concentrations that are similar to those caused by the street drug PCP.
According to New York-based forensic toxicologist Dr. Richard Stripp, the cold medicine Coricidin contains both dextromethorphan and chlorpheniramine. When abused recreationally, the cold medicine can cause euphoria, agitation, psychoses and dissociative phenomena.
“Dextromethorphan is a dissociative anesthetic that is designed to be an anesthetic, and can cause out of body experiences and one can lose their ability to sense pain,” Stripp explains to PEOPLE. “Chlorpheniramine is a cough suppressant and that particular drug is abused, and the reason it is abused is if you take high levels of it, the drug’s properties are similar to PCP.”
When I was a kid, we called that “Robotrippin.” The brand name was “Robitussin.”
Can confirm it is pretty much exactly the same as smoking PCP.
I thought they had banned it.
Or actually, what I thought was that they had added chemicals that made you vomit it up if you took enough to make you trip. You have to drink three full bottles of it to really leave orbit.
PCP (or Phencyclidine, known on the street as “angel dust”) and “drugs like that are dissociative anesthetics. It is conceivable that someone who had taken a large dose could have experienced hallucinations and exhibited behavior that we would consider outside of their normal characteristics.”
Matthew Phelps, 28, of Raleigh, called 911 early Friday morning and said his wife of less than a year, Lauren, was dead on their bedroom floor covered in blood.
“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” he says in a 911 call obtained by PEOPLE. “I have blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it. I can’t believe this.”
He told the dispatcher through tears that his wife wasn’t breathing and that he was afraid to get close to her — “I’m so scared,” he said.
Phelps said during the 911 call that he had taken too much cold medicine.
“I took more medicine than I should have,” he said. “I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good. A lot of times I can’t sleep at night. So, I took some.”
Yeah, there you go.
Phelps says he has no memory of allegedly stabbing his wife, who was a Sunday school teacher.
Phelps, who was studying to be a pastor, is charged with murder and is being held at Wake County Detention Center without bail, a jail spokesperson told PEOPLE.
He appeared in court on Tuesday alongside his attorney, Joe Cheshire, who said, “There’s a lot to this story I believe that will be told in the future.”
Stripp tells PEOPLE he knows of no past case of alleged homicide involving the use of Coricidin and would not speculate on whether such a defense might work for Phelps.
“I’ve seen cases where these drugs have been abused, over the counter, and there have been issues, but I’ve never seen a case like this where someone commits murder under the influence of the drug,” Stripp says. “I have seen cases where people on PCP commit murder. Violent behavior is also a potential outcome of someone being under the influence of PCP. It impairs one’s ability to behave rationally.”
Yeah, well, I’ve known a lot of people who have taken a lot of drugs. I’m a millennial – it’s what a generation of kids did while their boomer parents were busy with the divorce. But I’ve never known anyone who murdered anyone else. In fact, I only went to school with one guy who killed himself. I didn’t know him. He dressed “gothic” and listened to Marilyn Manson.
People who are religious in the modern age are weird. The religion has become so vile and corrosive that people who voluntarily become involved in it tend to almost universally be severely deranged people.
I and many others I’ve known have tried to get involved in religion. There is a natural drive to do that in human beings. But at present, it is all so messed up that it is virtually impossible to connect with it, and the people who do connect with it appear to all have serious personality defects. Much worse than those of people who get involved with drugs.
Interestingly, they are both seeking the same sort of dissociative experiences. This whole “hands in the air” thing that evangelicals do is a kind of primitive ecstasy ritual.
Sometimes, it even give people seizures, like some kind of Satanic possession. It’s like something out of Africa thousands of years ago.
Drugs are safer than modern religion for sure. Someone who is the type of person to get involved in religion who then gets high on cough syrup murdering someone is not the least bit surprising.
However, all of that being said: he wouldn’t have killed her if he hadn’t been on the cough syrup. So I think there is a reasonable argument to be made that this is a pretty major “mitigating circumstance.”
Where he screwed up was in telling the 911 dispatcher that he “took too much” and implied that he did it to get high because it helps him sleep.
Lesson of the story: if you ever wake up from a dream and have just murdered someone, call 911 and just say “I need an ambulance” and hang up. Tell the cops you want a lawyer. There is no good that can happen from trying to explain yourself, and that statement this guy made is probably going to make manslaughter impossible.
Although I’m not a lawyer and really have no idea about what charges he will or won’t get. I do know that he would have been much better off to have his lawyer explain the cough syrup thing.