Some opioid addicts are turning to an over-the-counter alternative to get high, they are taking dangerous doses of Imodium A-D. The anti-diarrhea medication has growing appeal with substance abusers because it’s cheap and readily available.
Loperamide, the main ingredient in Imodium A-D, causes intestinal slow-down, which helps stop diarrhea. But in very high doses, it can have other effects — as well as some serious risks. “It’s an opioid agent and it helps to bind receptors in the brain and cause a similar euphoria or high,” said Dr. Scott Krakower, a physician who specializes in addiction disorders at Northwell Health. Krakower said a person would have to take an enormous dose of anti-diarrhea medication to get high. Addicts are found to be popping anywhere from 50 to 300 pills per day. According to the study, Imodium A-D, in large doses, works in the body the same way as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. However, Imodium A-D is a cheaper alternative, as big box stores sell 400 tablets for less than $10.