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Emergency rooms and schools across the nation are reporting that waves of youths are overdosing on non-prescription cough and cold medicines like the brand name Robitussin, that are widely available in drugstores and supermarkets. The many recent cases of overdoses and deaths in which the abuse of over-the-counter medicines like Robitussin, containing the powerful cough suppressant DXM, has raised awareness concerning this drug . Over the counter cold medicines such as Robitussin are becoming more popular as recreational drugs for kids as young as 12. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies Robitussin and other drugs containing DXM as a "drug of concern" because of its potential for abuse, but there are no legal restrictions on buying the drug. A spokesperson for Wyeth, the drug company that makes Robitussin products said in a recent statement that the medicine works so well when taken as directed that they want people to have access to it if they need it, because the vast majority of people who need Robitussin products do not abuse them. The popular conception about Robitussin and other drugs containing DXM is that because it's over-the-counter, it's safer. When referring to the tremendous amount of Robitussin overdose and abuse incidences, this, of course is not always the case.
Dextremethorphan, also known as DXM is in more than 100 over-the-counter medicines. Robitussin contains dextromethorphan, or DXM, a cough suppressant that when taken in heavy doses can produce hallucinations and a loss of motor control .DXM is a synthetic drug that chemically is similar to morphine. DXM was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a cough suppressant in 1954. Robitussin and similar drugs containing DXM can be particularly dangerous when abused, or taken with other drugs. Some drug counselors and doctors say teens and young adults have begun mixing DXM with alcohol, or drugs like Ecstasy. Nicknames for DXM include Robot, Skittles, Triple C's, Robo, Dex, Tussin, Vitamin D. DXM abuse is called "Robotripping" or "Tussing." Users might be called "syrup heads" or "Robotards."Whether in cough syrup or pills, DXM costs just a few dollars, is easy to get, and there's a lot of information about how to get high from DXM on the internet. DXM is also in other cough and cold medicines, including Coricidin HBP, Vicks NyQuil, Robitussin, and Vicks Formula 44. A normal dose of DXM is 15 to 30 milligrams. Mind-altering effects can occur at doses as low as 100 milligrams, but many abusers consume enough pills or syrup (half a 12-ounce bottle) to result in a dose of 240-360 milligrams. Symptoms of abuse include sweating, high body temperature, dry mouth, dry, itchy or flaky skin, blurred vision, hallucinations, delusions, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, numbness in toes and fingers, and headaches. Recently, in a number of cases in which individuals abused Robitussin and similar cold medicines loss of consciousness has occurred. Heavy, chronic abuse of Robitussin or other cold meds containing DXM or other dissociatives (like Ketamine and PCP) can cause Olney's Lesions to form on the brain. This type of brain damage can affect memory, cognitive ability, and emotional behavior.
Many users find the dissociative affects (out of body experience) seductive and develop an addiction to Robitussin or other cold medications containing DXM.As word of DXM spreads among teens and young adults, pharmacies are reporting a massive amount in thefts of cough and cold medicines. Also escalating as well are the cases of overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms related directly to abuse of cold medicines contain the drug DXM, like Robitussin. Drug treatment is the best possible option for individuals abusing Robitussin or other drugs containing DXM.