When people think about drug abuse, they think about prescription drugs or illegal drugs. It may never occur to them that there is potentially drug that can be bought by anyone over the counter. That drug is Dextromethorphan a cough suppressant that is a common ingredient in cold and cough medications such as Robitussin. This is why taking Dextromethorphan recreationally is sometimes called Robotripping. Dextromethorphan is also known as DXM or Robo and it is popular with teens who are not of legal age to buy alcohol and don’t have access to other drugs. Because it is bought over the counter, many teens assume that this means that it is harmless.
In reality, DXM can be very dangerous. When taken at higher doses, Dextromethorphan acts as a dissociative hallucinogen. That means it puts the user into an altered state that can impair their sense of reality and their judgment. If an overdose is taken it can suppress breathing, cause unconsciousness and even death. Teens can also obtain it simply be searching their family medicine cabinets.
Some cough remedies are pure dextromethorphan, but many cold/cough medications contain other drugs, such as antihistamines or and expectorants. This is an added danger to taking DXM because the user will take an excess of those drugs while trying to get enough of the DXM to get high. Teens will also raid their medicine cabinets, gather at a party and then pour all of the collected cold medications into an alcoholic drink which they all drink. This is especially dangerous because they have no idea of how much of the drugs they are actually taking or even what they are taking. It can also be dangerous when ingested by someone who is on an SSRI medication.
Whether or not you have kids, teenagers , it is recommended that you keep any medication containing DXM in a secure location so that it doesn’t fall into the hands of anyone who might abuse it.