Title: “Robo” | DXM | Fast Facts
Author: Staff
Publisher: Do It Now Foundation
Publication Date: February 2010
Catalog Number: 532

Overview: If you believed everything you read
on the Internet, you might think that dextromethorphan (or DXM)
is destined to be the Next Big Thing on the party-till-you-puke
legal-drug circuit. Then again, if you ever bopped till you barfed
or landed in a hospital emergency room after partying on DXM,
you might know better. Because even though DXM is legal and will
mess you up, it’s got a long way to go before it’s ever a main
selection (or even a featured alternate) in the Drug of the Month

Slang Names: Robo, skittles, and dex, depending
on source product, usually syrups or gelcaps.

Actions/Effects: A common over-the-counter cough suppressant
with few side effects when used as directed, DXM triggers a wide
range of effects when used at higher dosage levels. Common low-dose
effects include feelings of dizziness and floating, which not
all users experience as pleasant. At higher dosage levels, these
effects give way to disorientation and thought disturbances,
along with vivid hallucinations. In the brain, DXM triggers its
psychoactive/dissociative effects at the same receptors targeted
by PCP and ketamine, by blocking reuptake of the neurotransmitter

Medical Uses: Although dextromethorphan is used mainly
as a cough suppressant, it’s also used in some medical diagnostic

Risks/Side Effects: Since DXM’s psychoactive effects only
kick in when massive amounts are consumed, common side effects
blur together with symptoms of overdose. Besides nausea and vomiting,
DXM can also cause itching, rash, and profuse sweating. Excitability
and impaired coordination are common signs of overdose, which
requires immediate medical attention. Making DXM especially risky
is that many over-the-counter medications which contain the drug
also contain other active ingredients, including acetaminophen,
which can raise the risk of overdose complications, even death.

Addiction: While DXM’s effects are not considered
pleasurable by many users, chronic abuse can lead to an intense
form of psychological dependence.

Trends: Use has been reported in Sweden, Australia, United
States, Germany and Canada since the 1960’s. In response, some
states have moved medications containing DXM behind the counter
or limited sale to adults only.

Demographics: In a national survey of nonmedical use
of DXM conducted in 2009, 5.9 percent of high school seniors
reported prior-year recreational use of products containing the
drug, as did 6.0 percent of 10th graders, and 3.8 percent of
8th graders.

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