A new trend in drug abuse is arising among children and adolescents, and it does not require illegal drugs. The new drug of choice, dextromethorphan (DXM), is found in many over-the-counter drugs because it is safe at the recommended dose, but it is dangerous when abused. Abusing DXM is called robo-tripping in reference to Robitussin, a cough medicine that contains the chemical. Aside from Robitussin, the following medications are used for robo-tripping:
These medications are available in many households, and many children can abuse them without the knowledge of their parents. If you or someone you know abuses these drugs, then seek professional help as soon as possible to recover.
Effects of Dextromethorphan
At its recommended dose, DXM works in the brain to suppress the cough reflex. It also acts as a central nervous system depressant by blocking receptors of certain chemicals in the brain. However, these depressant properties are not typically noticeable at the recommended dose. For adults and children ages 12 and above, the maximum daily dose is about 120mg in divided doses, but when taken in excess, the drug produces any of the following effects:
- Doses of 100-200mg produce a mild, stimulant effect that may include heightened awareness and sensory perceptions
- Doses of 200-500mg create an intoxicating effect that may include disorientation and feelings of euphoria
- Doses of 500-1000mg produce mild hallucinations, dissociative effects, and disturbance to thinking, sensory perception and memory
- Doses over 1000mg create moderate to strong hallucinations and a fully dissociative effect
Other effects of excessive use may include confusion, altered time perception, dream-like experiences and decreased sexual functioning. Recreational use at these doses can disturb judgment, memory and coordination.
Risks of Robo-Tripping
Taking DXM in high doses can create many effects that can be life threatening. For instance, dehydration can occur from the nausea and vomiting that occurs with large doses. Increased heart rate and blood pressure may occur together, which can lead to stroke. High doses of DXM also cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, dilated pupils, rash, body itching, urinary retention and severe muscle spasms. With DXM overdose, respiratory depression can occur, possibly leading to coma or death.
Aside from the harmful physical side effects, DXM impairs judgment and coordination which can lead to self-harm. The hallucinations produced by high doses of DXM can lead to dangerous behavior. Those intoxicated by this chemical may believe they are invincible, so they will attempt activities that are life-threatening to themselves or to others.
Most people obtain DXM as an over-the-counter medication. When abused in this form, it is even more dangerous when combined with other substances. These combined effects can be highly dangerous and even fatal. Many people mistakenly believe that DXM abuse is safe, as it is sold in over-the-counter products. However, abusing this chemical is highly dangerous