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Texas Stores Pull Tylenol PM as Youths Use It to Create Heroin Mix 'Cheese'

Some area stores have stopped selling Tylenol PM or restricted access to the sleep aid that has been used by some Dallas youths to create the dangerous heroin mix known as "cheese."

• 'Heroin' Cheese: Questions and Answers

Managers at a Fiesta supermarket stopped selling it when they noticed the over-the-counter drug was disappearing off the shelves due to shoplifting.

Cheese, usually black heroin mixed with Tylenol PM tablets ground into a powder, has claimed the lives of at least 23 area teens since January 2005. Heroin can cause heart or respiratory failure.

"We didn't want to be part of the problem or anybody dying," said manager Dennis Daily, who added that the store has also stopped selling some similar over-the-counter medications that also contain diphenhydramine, an antihistamine.

While the store continues to sell other sleep aids, Daily said they would monitor sales and shoplifting of those medications.

Police records show almost daily arrests for the drug in the area, said Steve Fuentes, a Dallas officer.

Dallas police records show that shoplifting has fallen at the Fiesta by more than one-third since medicines containing diphenhydramine were pulled.

Although the neighborhood surrounding that store is believed to be at the center of the cheese problem, a Fiesta supermarket in East Oak Cliff also stopped selling Tylenol PM. Two others in East Dallas and Pleasant Grove have placed it behind the counter.

Some other supermarkets and drugstores have restricted access to medicines that include diphenhydramine.