About 3.1 million people between the ages of 12-25 have used cough and cold medicine to get high, the government reported Wednesday.
Dextromethorphan, or DXM, is cough suppressant that teens drug abusers are looking for in many over the counter cough, allergy and cold medications. When DXM is used as directed it is a safe and helpful medication with very little side effects. Although when taken at doses that exceed the recommended dose DXM has mind altering properties and potentially dangerous side effects. When taken at these high doses DXM can produce similar stimulating and euphoric effects to the drug ecstacy on the user, and at even higher doses DXM has been known to cause hallucinations. These hallucinations can include out-of-body experiences where teen drug users can feel complete disconnection from their body and surroundings.
DXM can have many negative side effects while taken at a mind-altering dose such as nausea, loss of consciousness and slowed breathing. Many long term effects of DXM are unknown but there is confirmation that long term abuse may lead to learning and memory impairment.