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As if parents didn't have enough to worry about, including teens drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and abusing prescription and illicit street drugs, they now have to be concerned about their kids abusing cold and cough medicines. More and more, experts are reporting that teens are abusing over-the-counter(OTC) cold medicines containing the ingredient dextramethorphan (DXM).Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that is an ingredient in a variety of over the counter cold medications such as Robitussin, Coricidin, and Nyquil to name a few. DXM abuse is the latest drug trend for youths experimenting with drugs across the country .These over the counter (OTC) drugs, containing DXM, are available everywhere, from drug stores, supermarkets, and even convenience stores. DXM abuse and overdose cases are becoming common place in hospital emergency rooms, from the inner city to the suburbs. Drug manufacturers say they sympathize with the public's concerns, but are resisting efforts to restrict customers' access to their products, citing that most people taking these OTC's with DXM for colds, do not abuse them. Wyeth, the manufacturer of many of the OTC's containing dextromethorphan, is making some of its packages containing DXM large enough to make them difficult to stash in backpacks or pockets.
Like PCP and Ketamine, dextromethorphan is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning DXM effects can include hallucinations. Some of the slang names for DXM including, Dex, Robo, Triple C, Tussin, and Skittles. Teenagers are abusing this cheap, easy to access, drug in record numbers so high, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are seriously looking at banning all sales of over the counter medications containing DXM, to individuals under the age of 18. Information from Internet sites advise and instruct the potential user on how to "trip" using DXM (called "roboing" or "robo-copping," a slang term derived from Robitussin). The Internet sites also provide access for the purchase of purified pharmaceutical - grade powdered DXM through the mail. Instructions are given on how to abuse DXM to avoid its bitter taste and even how to obtain gelatin capsules that can be filled with DXM powder. Other problems with DXM abuse is that many of the OTC preparations are not pure DXM and may contain acetaminophen, antihistamines or stimulants that can cause severe side effects if taken in excess. DXM abuse can cause death as well as other serious adverse events such as brain damage, seizure, loss of consciousness, and irregular heart beat. In very large doses, DXM can cause confusion, slurred speech, blurred vision, drowsiness, and rapid heartbeat, loss of coordination, dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, brain damage, seizures, and death.
Some signs that your child might be abusing drugs with DXM include noticing cough and cold medicines disappearing from your house or internet searches for the drug DXM. If there are major changes in their personality and physical appearance, these are sometimes signs that your teen may be abusing DXM. Whether your teen is abusing OTC's containing DXM, or other substances, getting treatment is the solution to helping your child recover and possibly saving your teens life.