• All You Need to Know About Cough Medicine Abuse

    Cough medicine abuse is a situation where extremely large doses of cough medicine are taken in order to get high. The “high” effect is caused by having taken a large amount of dextromethorphan (DXM), a common active ingredient found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. DXM can be found in the form of syrup, gel caps and other formulations that are available without a prescription. Since the 1950s, DXM has been used primarily as a safe and effective cough suppressant ingredient when taken at recommended doses.

    DXM is abused by people of all ages but its abuse by teenagers and young adults is of particular concern. And just because it’s found in over-the-counter medicines, many teens naively assume that DXM is harmless. However, DXM can also produce a “high” feeling as well as a number of dangerous side effects when abused in large amounts. When combined with other medications, alcohol, and illegal drugs, cough medicine abuse can pose more serious side effects. People abusing DXM sometimes refer it as robo-ing, robo-tripping and skittling among others. The most common slang terms of DXM include Dex, Robo, Skittles, Syrup, Triple-C, and Tussin.

    Side effects of DXM Cough Medicine Abuse:

    The effects of DXM cough medicine abuse vary based on the amount taken. In very high doses, DXM can cause dissociative and hallucinogenic effects, similar to the controlled substances ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP).  Dissociation is an experience of having one’s attention and emotions separated or detached from the environment. DXM abusers describe different “plateaus” of dissociation ranging from mild distortions of color and sound to hallucinations. Other side effects of DXM abuse can include impaired physical coordination, slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, numbness, nausea and vomiting, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. On rare occasions, hypoxic brain damage can occur where little or no oxygen can get to the brain.

    DXM abuse is on the rise. According to recent studies 1 out of 10 teens, or over 2 million teens, from across the country and of all backgrounds, have abused cough medicine to get high. The easy access to over-the-counter medications in drugstores and over the internet could be contributing to the increase in abuse. Often, teens find information about how to abuse cough medicine on the internet where a number of disreputable web sites promote the abuse of cough medicines containing DXM. Parents should be aware of what their teen does on the internet, the web sites he or she visits, and the amount of time he or she is logged on. The abuse of cough medicine also now can be seen in some current music, movies, and fashion.





    Categories: Prescription Drug Abuse

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