Anti-diarrhea medication warnings

RED BUD, Ill. – Law enforcement and pharmacists in Randolph County are warning the public of the dangers of a common anti-diarrhea medication found in your cupboard.

The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the coroner and state’s attorney’s office, are all warning about the risks of loperamide, which is found in anti-diarrhea medications like Imodium.

Pharmacist Steven Gibson says it is similar to an opioid and people are taking it in large doses to get high or deal with the side effects of withdrawal.

“The people that are overdosing on it are probably taking multiple boxes of it to abuse it. We’re talking about anywhere from 50 to a couple hundred tablets,” he said.

Gibson says depending on how much a person takes it can stay in your system upwards of 50 hours and can cause vomiting, drowsiness and an irregular heartbeat.

Sheriff Shannon Wolff says since this medication is sold over the counter, there is not much authorities can do. And for the time being, he says it’s up to store owners, parents, and friends to watch out for loved ones who may be abusing this drug.

“It’s an odd thing, you know, to get a Imodium stolen. It’s not normally the top of the priority list for retail theft, but obviously it is now,” Wolff said.

The sheriff says he's seen a rise in the number of thefts of this anti-diarrhea medication over the last three or four months throughout the county.

Sheriff Wolff says the first time he suspected someone of abusing this type of medication was three or four months ago when a store clerk reported a woman buying out the entire stock of anti-diarrhea medication. Since then, he's seen a rise in theft and now a toxicology report has confirmed a fatality from the drug.