- Mental Health»
Drug Abuse: Cough and Cold Medicine
In the 1960s and 1970s, we had the marijuana plant and hallucinogens like LSD. In the 1980s, crack cocaine infested much of the United State's urban areas. In the 1990s, MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamines (crystal meth, speed) swept the nation. But the advent of the millennium has seen a new form of drug abuse rising in popularity among teenagers: the rapid consumption of over the counter cold and flu medication.
For $5.49 your child can enter the local pharmacy, purchase a 12-pack of DayQuil, swallow six capsules one after the other and within an hour be experiencing the cheapest, easiest trip available today. It's called "dexing", due to the presence of Dextromethorphan, the ingredient that, when used in excess, causes an alteration of consciousness. DXM is a main ingredient found in cough, cold and flu medications such as DayQuil, Sudafed, Coricidin, Robitussin and over 120 others.
According to wikipedia.org, "DXM, when consumed in low recreational doses (usually under 200 mg), is often described as having a buoyant, vaguely psychedelic effect similar to a mixture of alcohol, opiates, and marijuana. This is often accompanied by a heightened appreciation for music, increased desire for socializing, and the feeling of floating. With higher doses, intense euphoria, vivid imagination, and closed-eye hallucinations may occur. With very high doses, profound alterations in consciousness have been noted, and users often report out-of-body experiences or temporary psychosis. Some find the effects of the drug to be immensely pleasurable, while others find that the drug produces dysphoria, panic, or dread."
Recreational abusers of DXM describe four dose-dependent levels or "plateaus". The 1st plateau occurs at ingestion of 100-200mg and causes mild stimulation. The 2nd plateau at 200-400mg creates a feeling of euphoria and closed- or open-eyed hallucinations. The 3rd plateau, 300-600mg, brings about distorted visual perceptions, and the 4th and highest plateau, 500-1500mg, causes dangerous dissociative sedation. In 2004, abuse of DXM resulted in an estimated 12,584 hospital emergency room visits. Patients age 12-20 accounted for nearly half (48%) of these visits.