The answer is yes. In fact, many teens are turning to their parent’s medicine cabinets, for things like cough syrup, as a way to get high, according to drugrehabs.org. A growing number of teen-aged kids are raiding their parent’s medicine cabinet and don’t feel concerned about what they are doing if they abuse over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrup. They say they’ve been well educated on the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, but parents may be neglecting to mention the dangers of non-prescription drug use when it comes to typical remedies kids have been taking since they were babies.
In regards to cough syrup, one of the main ingredients, dextromethorphan (DXM) can be a dangerous thing when abused. It’s also a drug that easily hooks people into an addiction. DXM is an active ingredient in cough medicines such as Mucinex DM, Coricidin, Delsym, TheraFlu, Robitussin, NyQuil, Dimetapp, Vicks, and others, including generic labels as well. Also, it has been shown that after getting hooked on DXM using cough syrup, teens have bought DXM in powder form and abused it further using Internet recipes to get high.
DXM is abused when people take larger than recommended doses or take it purely for the high they get from taking it. It is usually taken orally, in syrup or pill form although it can be smoked in powder from. Street or slang names of DXM include: robo-tripping, skittles, dex, tussin, or candy.
Abusing DXM can have negative affects on the brain. It is a dissociative drug, which means it creates feelings of not being oneself or of being separate or detached from the environment. Being high on DXM creates distorted perceptions and/or emotions. According to drugfree.org, 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 can occur. That means little or no oxygen can get to the brain.
The bottom line is that teens need to be more educated about the harms and dangers of abusing non-prescription over-the-counter drugs. They need to know what impairments can occur and realize the severity of the consequences of abusing drugs such as cough syrup (DXM). Further, they need to realize that they can set themselves up for problems with thinking and decision-making, and physical effects too. Parents need to stress the dangers of seemingly harmless cough syrups and educate their teens about DXM.