Those who wish to abuse drugs will go to almost any lengths to get the drugs they need. So if they can find a drug that can be legally obtained, they feel they are in luck. Dextromethorphan (also called DXM) is contained in over-the-counter cough medications that can still be purchased by any person in some states. California was the first state to pass a law in 2012 banning the sale to minors. In 2017 there were 12 states with such laws and several more states with proposed bills in the works.
Cough preparations that contain dextromethorphan include:
- Robitussin Cough and Congestion DM Max and CoughGels
- Vicks Formula 44 Custom Care Cough and Cold and Cold PM
- Triaminic Day Time Cold and Cough, Thin Strips Long Acting Cough and Cough and Sore Throat
- Coricidin Cough and Cold HBP, Chest Congestion and Cough, Day and Night Multi-Symptom Cold
When dextromethorphan is used properly, small dosages of the drug are ingested and there is no harm. But abusers take 250 to 1,500 milligrams at a time, rather than the 10 to 20 milligrams recommended for coughs. This much of the drug causes effects similar to alcohol intoxication along with other, more serious and more harmful symptoms.
Dextromethorphan Abuse Symptoms:
- Doubled or blurred vision
- Stomach pain
- Slurred speech
- Speeded heartbeat
- Loss of coordination
- Memory loss
At very high levels of abuse, a person can become dissociated from his (or her) body, losing contact with his senses, similar to the effects of ketamine or PCP. He may hallucinate and even go into a coma at these very high levels of consumption.
While DXM causes these mental and physical effects, the other drugs that are often found in these formulas can cause other kinds of damage. For example, the acetaminophen often included causes liver damage or even destruction when the dosage gets high. Chlorpheniramine can cause lack of coordination or even seizures and coma. These effects lead some abusers to try to extract the dextromethorphan from the formulas or to obtain the pure, powdered form of the drug that they might be able to find via the internet.
Dextromethorphan is a drug that may be primarily abused by teens since it is available to them. They may refer to this drug or its use by using these terms: Dex, DXM, Robo, Skittles, Triple-C, Tussin, Robo-ing, Robo-tripping, and Skittling, among others. A 2008 survey showed that one in ten American teens has tried this drug. It may be consumed in pill or liquid form, or added to a soft drink such as Mountain Dew, adding colored candies such as Skittles, which is why abusing this drug may be referred to as “Skittling.”
Addiction is Possible Result
According to the Department of Social Services in New York, it is possible to become addicted to dextromethorphan. Some young people take it along with marijuana or alcohol to modify the high from the other drugs. This drug will not show up on a usual drug test so some teens think it is a safe drug to abuse. But while some studies report that DXM is not addictive, some abusers of the drug report cravings after they stop using it.
A young person who starts abusing DXM may progress on to using other drugs, or he may find he can’t stop abusing this drug when he wants to. This is the point where he needs the assistance of a drug rehab to leave this habit behind. For over 50 years, Narconon drug rehab centers have been helping people get sober.
A thorough detoxification followed by counseling and life skills training enables a person in a drug program to see things in a whole new light so they can live an enjoyable, productive life again. This is the way the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program works.
Learn how this program can help someone you care about recover from abuse of dextromethorphan or any drug.