For some teens, it’s easy to get high. Accessing the medicine cabinet at home allows the teens access to a prescription drug which appears relatively safe, but when taken in large doses, there’s a problem. What exactly is it? A cough medicine that contains the ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM for short). The medication is employed for robotripping, which is the consumption of Robitussin-based products to feel physical and psychological effects.

Even if you are unaware, your child might take high doses of cough medicines at home. This is why you need to be aware of the dangers of robotripping and what is possible to assist your teenager.

What is Robotripping?

Roboripping refers to a type of drug abuse that permits adolescents to experience euphoria and hallucinations of the visual and auditory senses by engaging in the recreational use of dextromethorphan at doses higher than the recommended dose.

DXM is an opioid in OTC medicines, such as colds or coughs and is available in liquid, lozenge extended-release (ER) tablet formats. With more than 125 OTC products that contain DXM, as per WebMD, These medicines are readily accessible and readily purchased in most states, though certain states require the purchaser to be at least 18 years old. Furthermore, DXM is bought as powders manufactured by criminals or tablets purchased from retailers via the Internet.

Derek Barney, a licensed associate clinical mental health counsellor for Sunrise, the Residential treatment centre for teenage girls, has worked with clients as young as 11 old who is addicted to dextromethorphan.

“Cough syrup is a thing that’s off the agenda,” Barney said. “It’s widespread in the majority of homes. There aren’t any advertisements that advise you to secure it.”

The misuse of DXM began to gain popularity in the late 90s, According to Barney. Recently, he stated, “It’s common for kids to be exposed to DXM within the music. Particularly in rap music.”

It’s also discussed often via social networks, and some tweets from teens even demonstrate suggested dosages or ways of combining dextromethorphan with other substances to create a robotrip.

What happens during Robotripping?

Dextromethorphan’s amount taken in can cause different levels that lead to intoxication (known as DXM plateaus):

  • The first stage (100 or 200 milligrams): Users feel moderate effects and a boost in mood. They become more lively and energetic. Some claim that the effects are comparable to the drug ecstasy.
  • 2nd plateau (200 to 400 milligrams): This stage is comparable to drinking alcohol. However, there is a noticeable decline in motor and cognitive abilities. Euphoria, as well as auditory and visual hallucinations, are possible.
  • The third plateau (400 to 600 mg): Users will feel similar when using ketamine. It can cause dissociation. This means feeling dissociated from reality, losing motor coordination, and having vivid hallucinations.
  • Fourth plateau (500 or more mg): Effects are similar to taking hallucinogens, similar to PCP. Hallucinations, delirium, like a trance state, experiences similar to experiences out of the body and a decrease in pain perception could be experienced. Delirium and hallucinations resulting from DXM highs may lead to violence and aggression.

Based on Barney’s observations, teens who use robotrip typically feel euphoria and hallucinations. They also experience dizziness, sweating, numbness, and a zombie-like feeling.

“Most children go in hoping for euphoria, but come out mostly out of the experience with sweaty palms, slurred speech and apathy,” he said.

It’s crucial to know that DXM may turn addictive, and death or overdoses may occur.

What Quantity of DXM Is It Safe?

As per the Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended dosage of cough medications available over the counter that contain DXM as the principal ingredient to be used by children 12 years old and older is dependent on the type of medication used:

  • The Lozenges are 180 mg in total for 24 hours.
  • Syrup: 120 milligrams in total for 24 hours.
  • Extended-release oral suspension: 120 milligrams every 24 hours.

Compared to the high doses listed in the four DXM plateau descriptions, teenagers take more than three times the daily recommended dose and more than twice the recommended dose from the first plateau.

How are teens gaining DXM?

Unfortunately, finding cough suppressants containing DXM can be simple.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a dextromethorphan factsheet in the year 2019 that showed the most frequently abused drugs related to robotripping, including Robitussin and Coricidin OTC cold and cough medicines.

However, the DEA also reported that the abuse of DXM is caused not only due to its OTC availability but also by vast “how to” information on different websites. A quick online search for “robotripping” will reveal a variety of social media websites that discuss purchasing dextromethorphan and using it in combination with various drugs for enhanced effects, dosing towards achieving a DXM higher levels, and more.

Furthermore, these websites have discussions that reveal the constantly changing street names of DXM you need to keep an eye on. The DEA recognizes many of these names for DXM, such as Triple C, CCC, the poor man’s PCP and skittles. Skittles is a synonym for robotripping.

As new products for sale on the street come out, new names for slang emerge, and acquisition methods evolve; social media sites are the primary source teens use to stay on top of the latest developments. Common Sense Media has released a list of the most well-known social media sites among teens. You can also check those with messages boards or forums to stay on top of the language used to describe the purchase and misuse of cough medicine to cut robotically.

How Can You Tell if Your Teenage Is Doing DXM Abuse?

Barney advised parents to take note of physical symptoms of the DXM experience similar to those described earlier, such as the loss of the ability to control motor functions, dizziness, blurred speech, or hallucinations. He advised parents to keep an eye out for other indicators such as the decline in schoolwork, loss of interest in activities they enjoy or home issues like more severe mood swings, lack of interest, losing interest in relationships, taking or even snooping around.

Other indicators that abuse of DXM is taking place in your home could be:

  • The use of slang terms such as triple C, a street name used for Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, includes DXM.
  • Packs of cough medicine and bottles (e.g. Coricidin HBP) in your teenager’s room.
  • In the process of running out of cough medicine more quickly than normal.

What can you do to help A Teenager Who’s Robotrapping?

Treatment options for addiction issues like robotripping differ widely. They can include self-management and recovery training which helps teens learn how to manage addictive, high-risk behaviours. It is recommended to collaborate with your child to locate the right counsellor and a program for recovery you can all be at ease with. It is possible to use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration search tool to find an addiction treatment centre near you.

Is there a way to get rid of things faster?

Nope. Once you’ve decided seriously, you’ll need to let it take its course.

It is best to try to get it off. If you’re truly uncomfortable and dizzy, you should sit up straight in the comfort of a chair rather than lying down in case you’re thrown up.

There are other items to help you get out on your journey:

  • Drink a glass of ginger tea if you are feeling unwell to your stomach.
  • Play music or watch a film to help distract you and aid in unwinding.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • Remember that all the above will be finished in the end (we swear by it).

What are the dangers?

DXM is indeed legal. However, it doesn’t mean that the dose used to create robotripping is secure.

Here’s a look at a few of the dangers.


DXM affects the body’s ability to regulate temperature. It can also cause your body’s temperature to increase to dangerously high levels.

It’s been linked with heat-related emergencies, which include it being a cause of heat stroke. The term is often used to describe heatstroke caused by raves because it’s more likely to occur when you’re physically active, such as dancing.

Greater chance of toxicity and overdoses in some individuals

As per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), approximately 5-10 per cent of Caucasians can’t process DXM efficiently.

In these people, the substance can take longer to be eliminated from the body, which increases the chance of an overdose and even death.

Respiratory depression

DXM suppresses your Central Nervous System (CNS), which regulates your breathing. It can prevent your lungs from exchanging carbon dioxide. This is medically referred to as a respiratory depression.

The result is that breathing becomes shallow and slow. If not treated, it could cause respiratory collapse and death.

Risky behaviour

Doses high of DXM have been linked with dangerous behaviour triggered by effects like hallucinations and psychosis, and anxiety.

It could cause you to lose track of reality and make you more inclined to do things you would not normally do, like running across an overpass (true true).

According to various reports by a trusted source, DXM misuse has been linked to suicide, assault, and homicide.

Liver damage

Many OTC cold and cough remedies, including DXM, include Acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen could cause serious liver damage if you consume more than prescribed.

Does it work with any other thing?

DXM can trigger serious interactions when used with other drugs, OTC, or prescription medications.

Taking it alongside other CNS depressants may enhance or delay its effects on medications and dramatically increase the risk of breathing arrest, overdose and even death.


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