Know the facts about DXM and connect with help and support to keep your child safe.

What are some slang terms?
Dex, Robo, Skittles, Triple C, Tussin

What is it?
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a cough-suppressing ingredient found in a variety of over-the-counter cold and cough medications. Like PCP and Ketamine, dextromethorphan is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning DXM effects can include hallucinations.1

What does it look like?
Cough syrup and cough and cold tablets or gel caps that are available without a prescription. Also, dextromethorphan can be purchased in a powder form, often over the internet.

How is it used?

What do young people hear about it?
DXM may produce euphoria and mind-altering effects when taken in quantities greater than the recommended treatment dose. People who misuse DXM describe different “plateaus” ranging from mild distortions of color and sound to visual hallucinations and “out-of-body” sensations, and loss of motor control.

What are the risks?
Common DXM effects can include confusion, dizziness, double or blurred vision, slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, numbness of fingers and toes, and disorientation.

Over-the-counter medications with DXM may also contain decongestants, pain relievers, and/or antihistamines (which may make you drowsy). High doses of these mixtures can significantly increase the harmful effects of DXM abuse and could cause potentially fatal liver injury, cardiovascular effects and over-sedation. DXM is also sometimes misused with other drugs, like alcohol, which can cause additional harmful effects.3

What are signs of use?

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired physical coordination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Numbness of fingers and toes
  • Disorientation
1MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Feb. 2018, medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682492.html.
2National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.” NIDA, 2 July 2018, www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#methamphetamine.
3“Dextromethorphan overdose.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 23 Sep. 2018, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002628.htm.
Additional Sources:
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Next Steps

Look for Warning Signs

Do you think your child may be using drugs? If so, have you noticed any of these changes or warning signs?