What & Why Parents Should Know About Cough & Cold Remedies Like Coricidin What is Dextromethorphan? DXM,? Triple C's?

Coricidin HBP, made by the drug company Schering-Plough HealthCare is intended for the relief of cold and flu like symptoms, it contains the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, which is also known on as DXM.
Coricidin HBP, made by the drug company Schering-Plough HealthCare is intended for the relief of cold and flu like symptoms, it contains the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, which is also known on as DXM. | Source

Do You Know What Dangers Are Lurking In Your Medicine Cabinet?

As a parent, you try from the moment your children are born to keep them safe, but as any parent of a teenager can tell you, the older that they get, the harder it is to do. Still, if you are like me, there are a few things that you have been talking to your teenager about for most of their lives, things like; stranger danger, safe sex, and of course, the dangers and pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse. As the parent of two teenagers, a son who is seventeen, and a daughter who is nearly sixteen, I have always tried to be conscientious about not only talking to them about drugs and alcohol, but I've also tried set a good example at home, (children learn by example), and I've done my best to stay informed about whatever new illicit, or designer drug dangers might be swirling around in my children's ever expanding universe. So, imagine my surprise, shock, and horror, when, through the prayer request of a Facebook friend, I found out that besides worrying about the usual host of illicit drugs, marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, PCP, LSD, or prescription drugs like Ritalin, Ativan, and Xanax, I should now be concerned about what over-the-counter cold medications are in my medicine cabinet!

In her Facebook post of July 7, 2011, my friend said;

"Please say a prayer for my daughter's friend who is in ICU! And, parents....BE AWARE!! This girl is in ICU of taking Coricidin, aka, Triple C's or Skittles. It's an otc cold med that teenagers are stealing/using to get high. Google it! In this girls case, she is in ICU....and she is only 12!!!! Talk to your kids, you will be surprised at what they already know. Very sad....please please pray for her."

"Coricidin?!" I said out loud, as I shook my head in disbelief, "is what I give my father when he is congested. Why in the world would she take Coricidin? It's a cold medicine." I am wondering, and because I don't know the answers, I spend the rest of the afternoon finding out.

These are 30 mg Coricidin Maximum Strength Cold and Flu tablets. Taken in the correct dosage, they can relieve cold and flu symptoms and suppress that nagging cough, but some kids are taking as many as 360 mg. Over ten times the recommended dosage.
These are 30 mg Coricidin Maximum Strength Cold and Flu tablets. Taken in the correct dosage, they can relieve cold and flu symptoms and suppress that nagging cough, but some kids are taking as many as 360 mg. Over ten times the recommended dosage. | Source

DXM Containing Medications Are Also Known By These Names

SLANG TERMS FOR CORICIDIN
Orange Crush
Triple C
C-C-C
Dex
Drex
Red Devils
Robo
Rojo
Skittles
Tussin
Velvet
Vitamin D
These are the commonly known slang terms used for Coricidin and other DXM containing medications.

What is Coricidin?

What I Already Knew

I began my search knowing a very little bit about the over-the-counter cold and flu medication that, even as I write this, inhabits my family's medicine cabinet. What I did know is that Coricidin, which is also known by the generic name Chlorpheniramine Maleate Dextromethorphan, is for the treatment of cold and flu symptoms, which also works as a cough suppressant. I also knew that it is a small round brightly colored red pill that (after measuring it), is about ten millimeters in diameter, and that because it does not interfere with my father's blood pressure medication, Coricidin is his doctor's choice of treatment for any cold or flu symptoms that my dad might have. Further investigation of the box, reminded me that the recommended dosage is one (1) thirty milligram pill every six (6) hours, and the usual warnings about not exceeding the recommended dosage etc. Once I had done a thorough investigation of the box, it was time to do some real research; and I was shocked by what I learned.

What I Learned

Over the period of about the last decade, Coricidin, and other drugs containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, have become among the top favorite party drugs for teenagers between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, who are looking for a high that mimics that of other psychotropic drugs; producing hallucinations, loss of motor control, and out-of-body or dis-associative sensations, and who in order to achieve that high, are taking the over-the-counter medications in dosages that are the equivalent of three times or more the recommended dosage.

So what is it that makes this drug so popular? Why are suburban tweens and teens choosing this drug, which mimics the effects of the more widely known street and designer drugs? The answer is two fold, and as old as time; Cost and availability. The average teenager between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, doesn't have an endless supply of cash; but for around ten dollars they can walk into almost any grocery or drug store and purchase enough Coricidin or Robitussin DM, or Vicks 44-D, or one of many other over-the-counter cough and cold medications, that contain the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, to get themselves and maybe a friend or two, through a Friday or Saturday night; and in households, just like mine, where the unsuspecting parent has no idea what potential dangers may be present in the over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that are in their family medicine cabinet, awaiting the inevitable next bout of cold or flu, access is both free and easy.

Slang Terms For Using Coricidin or DXM

Dexing
Robotripping
Robodosing
 
Source

Signs of DXM Overdose

Loss of Motor Skills
Irregular Heartbeat
Seizures
Loss of Consciousness
Dizziness
High Blood Pressure

The History of Dextromethorphan

Although reports of it's abuse were not widely known until the last decade or so, dextromethorphan (DXM) is not a new drug.

Dextromethorphan is a synthetic drug that was developed in part as a replacement for cough treatments that contained the narcotic codeine, and was approved by the FDA, (Federal Food and Drug Administration), as a cough suppressant in 1958. It was originally introduced as an over-the-counter medication called Romilar and was available in both tablet and liquid form. News of Romilar's popularity among the drug counter-culture was well known as early as the beginning of the 1970s, and as a result, the tablet form of Romilar was removed from the otc market in 1973. Though it had been banned as an otc treatment, and subsequently been removed from drug store shelves, DXM had been specifically excluded from the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which meant that it was still legal to produce and use the potentially dangerous drug. This exclusion, allowed the big drug manufacturers to reformulate the original recipe for DXM, and shortly after it was removed from the over-the-counter market, they began to reintroduce it in a refined liquid form that left a bad aftertaste when taken in large quantities. The belief that the unpleasant aftertaste would work as a determent to abuse, allowed the new improved formula to remain on the shelves. A short time later, those same drug companies began to introduce their products in new and appealing flavors, and the abuse did not stop.

In the 1980s the popularity of DXM began again to surge, which prompted the FDA to convene a committee in 1990 to determine just exactly what DXM's abuse potential was. The committee recommended that additional toxicity data and more epidemiological data be gathered. In 1992, with the new data in hand, the committee reconvened, and concluded that the abuse was contained to small communities and that additional studies should be conducted. It was during the 1990s that the use of dextromethorphan containing syrups among teens as a recreational drug became a well-known phenomenon.

In a study of the Cincinnati Poison Control Center's call records for the period of January 1, 2000 - October 1, 2000, regarding the ingestion of Coricidin, a whopping 71% were classified as abuse, (a probable attempt to gain a euphoric or other psychotropic effect.)

In 2004, an article by the New York Times, reports that of the *2,523 calls placed to poison control centers nationwide, regarding the improper ingestion of Coricidin or other DXM containing over-the-counter drugs, 60% of those were teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. Three years later, in 2007 the calls have increased to 4,382, and the number of those relating to teenage involvement has risen to 75%.

(*statistics provided by the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System)

Possible Side Effects of Dexmethorphan or DXM Abuse

Confusion
Impaired Judgement
Blurred Vision
Dizziness
Paranoia
Excessive Sweating
Slurred Speech
Nausea
Vomiting
Abdominal Pain
Irregular Heartbeat
High Blood Pressure
Headache
Lethargy
Numbness of Fingers and Toes
Facial Redness
Dry Itchy Skin
Loss of Consciousness
Seizures
Brain damage
Hyperthermia/High Fever
Death

The Law Regarding DXM as of 2011

As of 2011, there is still no law that makes it illegal to produce or to use dextromethorphan, and even though there is overwhelming proof of wide spread abuse, the FDA, has yet to take steps toward the scheduling of this potentially dangerous drug as a narcotic, and so it remains readily available to countless numbers of teens and tweens, many of whom believe that because it is available over-the-counter, and it isn't illegal, that it isn't really dangerous either.

But rest assured, it is dangerous, very dangerous, and with its already easy accessibility being enhanced by on-line sites, where not only can it be purchased in it's pure powder form, dosing information, and instructions on how to extract DXM from cough and cold products are also provided, it's prevalence is growing.

So how can this epidemic be stopped? Although not required by law, some drugstore chains, such as Rite-Aid, have taken steps to help by placing all medicines containing detromethorphan behind the counter, requiring identification for those under the age of eighteen, and by limiting the amount of the medication which can be bought by one person. Until enough pressure is put on lawmakers, and the FDA, to take action, parents can help by being aware of what is in their medicine cabinet, educating their children, and just good old fashioned parent awareness.

Kristen Burns-Darling ©2011

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Comments 25 comments

chanroth profile image

chanroth 5 years ago from California, USA

My prayer sent out to your daughter friend and her family. I am quite surprise after reading this. Thanks for writing this.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@chanroth - It was actually the friend of a friend's daughter, but the prayers are welcome just the same... I was also surprised by both the announcement from my friend, and from the information that I learned... I hope that this hub will inform others, and maybe keep another little girl like this one from doing something so dangerous... Thank you for the generosity of your time, and for your comments, they are always welcomed and appreciated.


breathe2travel profile image

breathe2travel 5 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

Alarming. I will talk with my 12 year old to see if she's heard of this. Hopefully, your hub will prevent future abuse. Voted up & useful. Thank you for sharing.

Warmest regards~


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@breathe2travel - Thanks so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always welcome and appreciated. As I researched this I was both amazed and appalled, I had absolutely no idea! I did talk to my sixteen year old daughter and seventeen year old son, but they both said that they were unaware of this practice, and hadn't heard of any of their friends being involved in it. Thanks again!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I have never understood the desperation so many feel to get high on drugs. And at such young ages. Thankfully I don't have teenagers but will pass this on to others. Regards, HB.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Hyphenbird - It is a constant battle to stay informed and to stay current on the latest trends. I have kept Coricidin in my medicine cabinet for years due to my father's needs, and never ever thought about my children using it. Thankfully, neither my kids, nor their friends seem to have been aware of this practice. Thank you as always for the generosity of your time, and your comments here, they are always welcomed and appreciated!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

Thanks for the heads up. It behooves us all to check and see what is in our medicine cabinets that could be abused when we are not around!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is surprising. I will never understand the attraction for drugs that kids have. Thank you for your informative Hub.


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

Thanks for the informative article and the heads up! I will talk with my son and daughter so they can talk with their teens!!! Great write, as usual.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@denise.w.anderson - I agree with you, and am planning to do a complete medicine cabinet check in the very near future, I need to go through my dad's old rx's and throw them out too....Sometimes things just accumulate. I was awfully glad to know that my two had no idea what I was talking about...still there are so many kids out there that just lack direction and a ripe for the picking in terms of peer pressure and when you combine that with good old fashioned teen-age, "it won't happen to me." it is a bad combination. Thank you as always for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always welcome and appreciated!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@always exploring - I was surprised by this one as well, and am glad to be able to help spread the word. Thank you as always for the generosity of your time and your comments they are always welcome and appreciated!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@poohgranma - Thanks Sherry, I am always glad to be able to spread the word about things like this...as a parent it is sometimes so hard to stay up to date on these issues. Things here are just starting to settle down, I brought dad home on Saturday afternoon, and we are using hospice now too. I hope that things are going okay for you, and that you aren't pushing yourself too hard! Thanks again!


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

If your Hospice folks are anything like ours I think you'll come to appreciate them so much. It was a little difficult having so many people in and out of our home at first, but now I have come to welcome a few minutes where I can take a shower and relax or read a magazine article or catch up on posting. Plus, it;s a feeling of not being in it alone. Glad you Dad is home and glad you have some much needed help.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Gosh..it is scary yet informative. Thanks!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Ruchira - It is definitely very scary! Thanks so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always welcome and appreciated!


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

This is very information and will help us parents know what to look out for. THANK YOU so much for sharing! Voted up, up and away!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Great article K with great research and information. I will pass this along. Thanks so much,

Sharyn


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Dexter Yarbrough - Glad to be of service any way that I can. I couldn't believe it when I got the message from my girlfriend, this was one thing that I didn't know about, and I am truly happy to be able to pass it along to others who were as clueless as I. We parents have to stick together! As always I thank you for the generosity of your time and your comments here, they are always appreciated!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Sharyn's Slant - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always appreciated! It was a subject that I didn't know about, but was surprisingly, and scarily, almost too easy to research. I was very dismayed at the website that not only sold DXM to anybody who could pay for it, but also provided the information on how to extract it from legitimate cough and cold products. Thanks Again!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

Thank you so much for providing this information. As a parent of teens that go to a high school with over 4,000 kids, I have also learned about many drugs that kids take that aren't necessarily so-called street drugs. I have learned that many, many kids take prescription medications (painkillers, anti-depressants, add meds. and such) and if they don't use them themselves they sell them. All parents, no matter how good they think their kids are, should lock up all prescriptions and remove the slightest temptation from your kids and their friends. It's just another way we have to protect our kids. Thanks for the hub!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ktrapp - Glad to help! When it comes to protecting our children , we parents have all got to stick together, it is the only way that we can win! I know what you mean about the prescription drugs as well, last year, one of the boys that my son has played ball with since little league, was arrested on campus for selling his siblings Ritalin to other students. It isn't just the drugs, but other kids themselves; While this boy wasn't really a part of my kids circle of close friends, he was still considered one of the "good kids" an athlete, from a respected family, with a bright future in front of him. It is such a tragedy to see them go down that road. Thank you for the generosity of your time, and for your comments, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated.

Kristen


docbruin profile image

docbruin 5 years ago from USA

Excellent hub on a topic that needs as much exposure as it can get. There are so many different things being abused today, especially by teens, that parents have to really be in touch with what is going on. Thanks for writing this! Voted up and useful.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@docbruin - You are very welcome, I am always glad to be of service! Thank you so much for the generosity of your time, your comments, and the follow, they are all welcomed and deeply appreciated. I am now following you as well, and look forward to reading your hubs!

Thanks Again,

Kristen


slaffery profile image

slaffery 5 years ago from Kansas, USA

Thanks for doing the research and helping parents like me of teenagers who were just as oblivious to this. There are so many pressures out there on our teens and it's important for us as parents to be up to date on all of it as much as possible and to be in tune with our kids and be ready and available as a support system.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@slaffery - You are welcome, It's a great big world out there, we parents have to stick together! Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are both welcomed and appreciated!

Kristen

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