Asana Recovery

What is Robotripping? Symptoms and Dangers

RobotrippingRobotripping 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.

What is Robotripping

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.

Symptoms of Robotripping

a young woman with violent behaviorRobotripping typically causes very predictable symptoms including:

  • Euphoria
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Lack of connection with reality
  • Delusions
  • Impaired cognitive functioning
  • Impaired perception
  • Violent behavior or mood swings
  • Dissociation
  • Altered consciousness or “out of body” experiences

Most people will also show significant negative side-effects including:

  • Red and watering eyes
  • Slurring speech as though drunk
  • Stomach pains
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of coordination and muscle control
  • Heart irregularities
  • Nausea and potential vomiting
  • Rashes and skin redness
  • Itchy skin
  • Hypertension

woman getting blurry visionIf 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.

  • Plateau 1 – Typically, about 35-60 ml of syrup or 4-6 capsules, but requires 1.5-2.5 mg of dose per kilogram of bodyweight. A 120 lbs. person would need 82-138 mg of dex to achieve this effect. Users report feelings of euphoria, auditory changes, and light feelings of floating.
  • Plateau 2 – This requires about 2.5-7.7 mg of dex per kg of bodyweight, typically about 60-185 ml of syrup (usually 1-2 bottles) or up to 18 capsules. At this stage, users report euphoria, disassociation, and auditory and visual hallucinations. They also typically have no sense of balance.
  • Plateau 3 – Here, users typically need up to 7.5 mg of dex per kg of bodyweight or more. This means that they take up to four bottles of cough medicine syrup or up to 35 capsules at once. At this stage, robotripping can be dangerous and may cause loss of vision, heavy hallucinations, loss of consciousness, and out of body experiences.
  • Plateau 4 – Robotripping becomes dangerous with high risks of toxic psychosis, confusion, losing contact with reality, and being unable to communicate with others. It’s classified as any dose exceeding 7.5 mg of dex per kg of bodyweight. Normally it requires at least four bottles of cough syrup to achieve. This stage may require hospitalization.

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.

Get Your Questions Answered

Is Robotripping Dangerous?

female with mental health issue and substance abuse getting treatmentRobotripping 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.

How to Recognize the Symptoms of Robotripping

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:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Reduction in attention span
  • Changes in appearance and personal care
  • Falling asleep randomly or being unresponsive
  • Speaking in a slurred fashion
  • Lack of balance or coordination
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Loss of interest in former hobbies
  • Theft or unexplained things missing in the home

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 detoxresidential, 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.