MADISON – Rep. Jeff Wood had more than eight times the therapeutic range of an ingredient found in cough syrup in his system when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in September 2009, test results show.
A state laboratory report, obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal through an open records request, showed Wood had high levels of dextromethorphan, or DXM, in his system when he was arrested by the State Patrol in Marathon County. The report said Wood had 89 nanograms per milliliter of DXM in his system, well above the under 10 nanograms per milliliter considered normal for nonabusive use.
DXM is an over-the-counter cough suppressant commonly found in cold medications, which is often abused by adolescents to “generate euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Illegal use of DXM, which is also known as “poor man’s PCP,” is often called “Robo-tripping,” which is derived from the product Robitussin.
Wood on Tuesday told an Assembly ethics committee weighing whether to expel him from the Legislature after being arrested multiple times for suspected driving under the influence, that his test results showed he was “well within” the therapeutic ranges for prescription drugs. But he acknowledged that he had a high level of DXM, saying he had taken more than he was “supposed to by the label,” and also because an anti-depressant he was taking acted as an inhibitor that “would elevate” the level of DXM.
“That was a little bit higher than normal,” he said.
The lab report determined he was within the therapeutic ranges of several other drugs: Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug; fluoxetine and norfluoxetine, which are used to treat depression, and doxylamine, an antihistamine often used to treat insomnia. The report also determined Wood had no alcohol in his system.
Calls to Wood’s office were not returned Wednesday, and his attorney, Tracey Wood, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Wood has said he was guilty of drunken driving and possession of drug paraphernalia after a December 2008 arrest, but he’s fighting charges stemming from his September arrest in Marathon County and another arrest in October.