Dextromethorphan, commonly known as DXM, is a cough medicine that is available as an over the counter drug in almost all states of the USA, except California where it is not allowed for teens to purchase it. The drug is frequently used for recreational purpose due to its hallucinogenic properties. When taken in normal dosage, DXM is a useful cough medicine that works by triggering the brain to stop the cough reflex. For higher doses in the range of 10 to 50 times of normal dosage, the DXM kicks in and causes dissociative effects similar to that of PCP or ketamine.
The use of DXM as a recreational drug has been increasing greatly in recent times, especially among teenagers. The fact that drugs containing DXM are so easily accessible has made it very easy for anyone to get ahold of them. Higher dose cough tablets such as Coricidin and Walgreenâ€™s Flu BP make easy targets for DXM abuse. These drugs are also cheap compared to other traditional recreational drugs. There is a misconception among its users that they are â€˜saferâ€™ than other drugs available on the streets since they are getting it from a proper drug store. This often leads to cough medicine abuse with people not realizing the great number of physical and psychological risks associated with it.
There are stages or plateaus of intoxication usually described by DXM users. Dextromethorphan stages include the first plateau, which is a feeling similar to being drunk on alcohol. The second plateau comes with incoherent speech and mild hallucinations. The third plateau makes the user unconscious of his or her surroundings along with blurred vision. The fourth and final plateau detaches the user from his existence and causes loss of all sense. Long term abuse of DXM can cause problems similar to other psychedelic drugs. Restlessness, confusion, inability to focus, lack of coordination, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, irritation and anger are some of the side effects of DXM abuse.