DXM Danger


It is hard to imagine a simple bottle of cough syrup destroying a young person’s life. But that is exactly what is happening to many young people like Shawn, who become addicted to the drug dextromethorphan – an ingredient found in some cough medicine. (You can hear Shawn’s story at www.dxmstories.com.)

In fact, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, one out of ten teens in America has abused cough medicine to get high. Looking for an easy high, these young people are reaching for cough syrup, while risking terrible side effects, addiction and even death.

Recently Anna Matis, a reader who represents the Consumer Healthcare Products Association emailed us to let us know about the CHPA’s campaign to raise public awareness about this growing problem of kids abusing dextromethorphan.

The CHPA and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America have developed two websites as educational resources, www.dxmstories.com for teens and www.drugfree.org/Parent/Resources/Cough_Medicine_Abuse for parents.

We found these sites helpful and thought we should pass them on to you. It is frightening to know that many kids are risking their lives to get high on something so easily purchased. If you are interested in learning more, please check out these sites and find out how parents can help prevent cough medicine abuse.


  1. says

    I am a counselor and I work with middle-school-aged and high-school aged girls. It is amazing the need they feel for that “high” feeling. It is such a sad thing. Thanks for sharing this article.

  2. says

    It is so sad how desparately people seem to search for anything that might give them a little high. Praying for all those affected by this. Thank you for getting the word out so we know. I honestly would never have suspected cough medicine. *sigh*

  3. says

    I think things are becoming tighter around here. [California] A couple of weeks ago all six of us were ill with coughs flu and the like. I went to the supermarket to buy different medicines for the different ailments [about 8 over the counter medicines] and I wasn’t allowed to buy all of them at once! Probably a good thing but inconvenient.
    Best wishes

  4. says

    It is true! I was talking with a young man a few months ago and he was sharing his testimony with me. He abused cough medicine as an addictive drug. He said it was quick ,easy, available and inconspicuous. He was a believer in a Christian home, he had no desire for illegal drugs or alcohol, too obvious. And all he really wanted was a slight buzz to “take the edge off.”
    Thankfully he has quit this behavior and shares his story openly to help others.

  5. says

    It’s amazing how many inexpensive, over-the-counter medications there are out there that kids can use to get high. It’s scary. The scariest thing is that they feel the need to get high in the first place. I’m being completely honest when I say that I’m am thankful my children are grown.

  6. says

    This is so scary. I have been hearing a lot about this on news programs. I don’t know how we are to protect our kids. It is especially scary when you have one approaching the age.

  7. Ellis says

    What’s the big deal? Kids have been drinking cough syrup to get high for years now. Hell, the pure powder form has been available online for at least 7 years now. Oh, and the effects are far, far stronger than any street drug out there – at least with most of those you still can think straight. DXM puts you in another world for a while!

  8. Alyssa says

    DXM is not stronger than any street drug. “Street” drugs can be anything due to the broadness of the term and intensity is determined by dose, so there really is no measurement and it is ludicrous to say that DXM is “far, far stronger”. DXM is a psychedelic or hallucinogen, it makes you hallucinate and does not give a “high” feeling like marijuana or hard drugs like heroine. For those who are not in a secure mental state, it can be a quite poor experience, not the classic “high” that everyone associates every teenager in modern society has an uncontrollable urge to achieve.

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