Dextromethorphan hydrobromide, also known as DXM or Dex, is a commonly abused and very dangerous drug among teens, which can be purchased over the counter.
DXM is a chemical found in many over the counter cough suppressants, like Robitussin, Coricidin, Tylenol Cold, Dayquil, and several others. It is not illegal to possess or ingest, and many teens worldwide have decided to abuse this privilege. This is the reason why many pharmacies keep these medications behind the counter now, and usually will not let people buy more than 2 boxes at once.
The high they are looking for often involves a mood lift, giggling, dreamlike experiences (sometimes referred to as robotripping), and warmer feelings towards others. It usually lasts for up to 8 hours. However, on the negative side, it can cause nausea, dizziness, itching, and a deep depression once it’s worn off. There are many health risks involved in abusing this medicine, like seizures, bleeding from multiple bodily orifices, liver damage, and even death. Unbeknownst to many users, some of these medicines contain chemicals that are extremely harmful and dangerous if taken in large quantities.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re flying, sometimes you feel like you’re floating,” says one teen who has used DXM. “It’s unbelievable. One time I was laying on the floor after the pills kicked in, and I was convinced that I was in a boat, trying to get to a lighthouse.”
DXM was first put on the market in 1958. It was approved by the FDA as a cough medicine. In an effort to cut down on codeine cough syrup abuse, DXM alone was available over the counter as a cough remedy in the 1960’s, under the name Romilar. However, Romilar was taken off the market in 1973 due to many recreational users. It was then replaced by nasty tasting cough syrup, in an attempt to cut down abuse. From the early 1980’s to present times, DXM has regained popularity, and many deaths have been documented due to overdoses.
DXM is no different from any other drug- the dangers and risks of using it are just too scary for recreational use.
You never know what your kids may be buying- or stealing- from the local convenience store. It’s horrifying to think that something so dangerous is so desirable in the eyes of teenagers.