Robotripping is a street term used to refer to getting high on cough medicine, with the primary ingredient of dextromethorphan. Dextromethorphan or DXM is extremely common in many cough medicines, to the point where buyers often refer to the drug as “Triple C” (Coricidin Cough & Cold). The drug is also relatively easily available without a prescription and in large packs online, making it extremely easy for teens and young people to acquire. That makes it a very common street drug used by teens. In addition, in 2021, an estimated 1.6 million Americans used the drug with more users under the age of 17 than over.
While dextromethorphan drugs are readily available, they can cause significant health problems if abused. That has led to 22 U.S. states banning sales of dextromethorphan products to teens – although many online stores still don’t check for age on purchases.
If you suspect that your loved one is “robotripping” it’s important to learn about the effects, dangers, and how to recognize it.
Robotripping is used to refer to a high gotten from taking a dextromethorphan drug. This can be called Triple C, skittles, C, cough & cold, or simply be an over-the-counter cough medicine. Most is taken in the form of pills, which are typically dosed in 2.5-10mg doses. Yet, teens taking this drug can sometimes take up to 100 times the recommended dose.
The drug typically causes feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, of loss of touch with reality – which is why robotripping is popular for clubs and raves. However, many teens will take it alone or in groups simply as a way to get high and to let go of reality.
Any dextromethorphan-related cough medicine can be used for robotripping. In addition, some street sellers will distill the active ingredient out of cough medicine to offer higher-strength pills and doses.
Robotripping typically causes very predictable symptoms including:
Most people will also show significant negative side-effects including:
If someone has these side-effects, it will normally be obvious that they are intoxicated. However, figuring out what they are on can be difficult, as extreme alcohol intake can have a similar result.
In most cases, the symptoms are based on the size of the dose. Here, robotripping is ranked in “plateaus”, where users decide how high they want to be and dose accordingly.
It’s a standard thing for teens to take about 15-20 mg of dex per kg of body weight. That drug goes on to have an effect for 4-12 hours, meaning users can be high for a significantly long period. In addition, after 24 hours, there are still traces of the drug in your system. This means that attempting to repeat the dose will result in a higher-than-expected dose, which could result in toxicity.
Robotripping can be dangerous, especially for teens who take too much or who take it too often. That’s so much the case that many stores will not sell cough and cold medicine to teens. In addition, the long-term effects of dex and cough medicine can be significant.
For example, many cough medicine products contain acetaminophen. This can cause significant liver damage at high doses. If someone takes more than the dose of cough medicine, they are almost always overloading on acetaminophen dosage, which will contribute to liver damage. A maximum strength cough and cold pill normally contains 300 mg of acetaminophen, so a teen taking the entire sheet is taking over 3,000 mg of it at once.
Dex users can also result in having withdrawal symptoms if you don’t take more within about 36 hours. In this case, users will experience fatigue, constipation, insomnia, memory issues, attention issues, panic attacks, tremors, hives or outbreaks, and have a risk of toxic psychosis. These symptoms typically last for as much as a week following your last usage.
Withdrawal symptoms eventually result in issues with addiction and dependence. This can mean cravings, seeking behavior, and problems controlling usage.
Long term, robotripping will also cause issues like liver and kidney damage or even failure, kidney stones, and will have a risk of permanent brain damage.
Robotripping can be difficult to recognize or to tell apart from other forms of intoxication. This means that if you want to identify what the drug is, you’ll normally have to find disposed packaging. That might be packages or bottles in the trash, old pill sheets, or orders on Amazon or other websites. However, you can also look for symptoms of general substance abuse like:
Here, it’s always going to be impossible to tell if the drug in question is dex or something else. Therefore, you’ll always have to follow up, find proof of pills or bottles, and go from there. However, the best first step is always to talk to the person using to figure out if they’re willing to talk or willing to get help.
Ultimately, if you or someone you love is abusing Dextromethorphan, it’s important to reach out and ask for help. Dex can seem harmless, after all, it’s sold over the counter. However, it can have significant and lasting impacts to your health. In addition, overdose can result in death. Taking steps to get clean and to get treatment can help you get back in control.
Asana Recovery is located in Orange County, California. and offers detox, residential, and outpatient addiction treatment services in our modern and comfortable addiction treatment facilities. Please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced addiction treatment team if you have any questions about our programs.