Cough syrup medications are fast becoming another common drugs of abuse among teens. The active ingredient of many cough syrups is dextromethorphan (DXM), which if taken in large doses can cause visual hallucinations and a heightened sense of awareness - in other words, a cheap high.
DXM is taken orally, usually as a liquid syrup or pill. Some people have begun to use a powder form of the drug. People who abuse it in excessive amounts sometimes refer to DXM as robo-tripping, skittling, dex, or candy.
In very large quantities, DXM can cause effects similar to that of ketamine or PCP, because DXM affects similar sites in the brain. These drugs are called "dissociative," which means they create feelings of not being oneself or of being separate or detached from the environment; they distort perceptions and emotions.
Other effects of DXM abuse can include impaired motor function, numbness, nausea and vomiting, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. On rare occasions, hypoxic brain damage occurs. That means little or no oxygen can get to the brain because of the side effects of the combination of DXM and decongestants also often found in these medications.
If you suspect that your child is abusing cough syrup you should talk to him/her about your suspicions avoiding direct accusations. This talk should take place when he/she is straight, and you’re calm. This will show your child that you still love him/her, but you are most concerned with what he/she is doing to him/herself.
Taking time to discuss the problem without turning away from it is an important first step to take care of the problem. Most important, act fast, seeking counseling from a certified mental health professional with experience in youth and substance abuse is critical. Depending on your teen’s behavior and level of addiction your child will have a greater chance of recovery by attending a residential adolescent addiction treatment. Try to choose a treatment program that also offers an educational program so that your child will not miss out on school credits.
Inspirations for Youth and Families
Addiction Treatment for Teens: 1-888-757-6237
Cove Center for Recovery
Addiction Treatment for adults and young adults: 1-888-387-6237