Drug Facts

With so many voices and opinions out there, it’s important to understand the facts.

Fact is that while you’re a teen (and even into your early 20’s!), you’re still growing and developing, and drug abuse during these years in particular can have a lasting impact. Another fact to consider: the brain is much more vulnerable to addiction during these years. 90% of Americans with a substance abuse problem started smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18.

When it comes to drug use, individual reactions and experiences vary, so it’s important to understand the usual risks and effects, both short- and long-term. Knowledge can be the key to making your own best decisions.

Information provided isn’t to prevent anyone from seeking medical treatment under the advice and care of their doctor. A variety of substances offer potential medicinal value, but that doesn’t negate their risks, especially when abused.

Bath Salts
Prescription Drugs
Tobacco & Nicotine
Select Drug


When taken as directed, DXM is a safe cold medicine. When abused at higher doses, DXM can be lethal.


Robotripping, robo, tussin, triple c, dex, skittles, velvet, drank

What is it?

DXM (dextromethorphan) is a cough-suppressing ingredient in many OTC (over-the-counter) cold and cough medications. It’s safe if you take it for a cold and as directed, but taking it at doses higher than the recommended amount can be lethal.

The Risks

A single high dose of DXM can completely distort your vision, and make you dizzy, agitated and paranoid. Hallucinations are another side effect of DXM intoxication. And it can also affect your body. Taking large doses of DXM can make you vomit, lose your coordination and impair your judgment.1 When abused at high enough doses, DXM can suppress the central nervous system, and result in death.2

Long-Term Effects

People who abuse DXM can develop a psychological dependence on the drug,1 increasing risks over the long-term. DXM can cause serious damage when abused. And many of the over-the-counter medications that contain DXM, also include other ingredients such as antihistamines, analgesics or decongestants that may increase the harmful effects, including potentially fatal liver injury.2 In combination with alcohol or other drugs, DXM can also lead to overdose and death.1

The Bottom Line

Taken as directed to treat a cold or cough, DXM is a safe drug. Abused at high doses, it can impair your senses and it can be deadly. In 2003, a 14-year-old boy in Colorado who abused DXM died when two cars hit him as he tried to cross a highway. Investigators believe that taking DXM affected the boy’s depth perception and caused him to misjudge the distance and speed of the oncoming vehicles.1

  1. U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency. Drugs of Abuse: Dextromethorphan (DXM).
    Retrieved August 2011.
    View Source
  2. DXM Stories. Get the Facts.
    Retrieved May 2013.
    View Source

Need Help?


Call the Boys Town

National Hotline

Confidential and Open 24/7

image of pills When Help Isn't Helpful
Your heart is probably in the right place, so that's a good start. But if want to actually help a friend, read this first!
Read the full blog post >>