Drug Policy

The Robitussin Epidemic

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The latest numbers from the Monitoring the Future Study, released today, indicate that methamphetamine use among students in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades has been falling steadily since 2001, in the midst of what we are constantly told is a nationwide "meth epidemic." (Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show the same trend for adults.) Marijuana use also is down. So what's the latest chemical menace to the youth of America? There are two contenders, both of which should sound familiar.

"Abuse of prescription opioids remains at unacceptably high levels," declares the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Overall, past-year use of OxyContin rose from 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent, while past-year use of Vicodin rose from 5.7 percent to 6.3 percent. "Of significant concern is the finding that past-year use of Vicodin remained high among all three grades," says the ONDCP, "with nearly one in ten high school seniors using it in the past year." And "despite a drop from 2005–2006 in past-year abuse of OxyContin among 12th graders (from 5.5 percent to 4.3 percent), there has been no such decline among the eighth and 10th grade students."

Doesn't send your heart racing? "There is also concern about non-medical use of over-the-counter drugs," the ONDCP adds. "In the first national survey on non-medical use of cold or cough medicine, the data show that 4.2 percent of eighth-graders, 5.3 percent of 10th graders, and 6.9 percent of 12th graders reported taking cold or cough medicines with dextromethorphan (DXM) during the past year to get high." Of course, since this is the first survey to ask about DXM, those numbers could be down from last year, for all we know.

It's tough to alarm parents and gin up support for the war on drugs with the specter of cough syrup and the occasional Vicodin swiped from Grandma's medicine cabinet. But take heart, drug warriors. I'm sure meth and pot use will go back up again someday. 

NEXT: Over the Objections of the Italian Courts and the Vatican, Poet Declines Medical Care and Dies

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  1. Dude, don’t underestimate DXM. It is a very powerful drug. If the drug warriors are actually paying attention I predict it will be off the shelves within a year.

  2. Jacob,

    You’ve been right before when you predicted dire restrictions in the name of fighting meth. But just symbolically, I really hope they don’t turn around and ban dextromethorphan.

    Because it would mean we’re on the road to hell, and no politician is going to stop it.

  3. the tussin, the tussin
    put it down like it was nothin
    robocop couldn’t stop me from pukin and flushin
    no balls to be bustin, no fightin, no cussin
    just love for a drug called robotussin

    -mc chris, “The Tussin”

  4. Son of a!,

    You beat me to it, but I was going to use a Chris Rock ref.

  5. I knew guys in college who told tales of downing bottles of Robotussin to get high. They described it as feeling like acid without the hallucinations.
    What’s the point of that? Your body feels jittery and uncomfortable, but you don’t see and hear things in a new and wonderful way and you don’t feel one with all of existence. Great. I don’t like the stuff even if I have a terrible cough.

  6. methamphetamine use among students in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades has been falling steadily since 2001

    Way to cherry-pick the data! Everyone knows that 9th and 11th grades are the grades to pick up a meth habit.

  7. My understanding is that it’s like nutmeg. Might do something interesting but the hangover and side effects are such that only a maniac would try it again.

    Never could figure out why kiddos fool around with stuff like that (and inhalants) when pot is easier to get than coffee in Hi Skool.

  8. You can get high off Robitussin??? WHY AM I JUST HEARING ABOUT THIS NOW !!!????

    [off to the drug store]

  9. feeling like acid without the hallucinations

    Then they never took acid, because LSD doesn’t make you hallucinate.

  10. Then they never took acid, because LSD doesn’t make you hallucinate.

    Then what does it do?

  11. I heard that DXM is like a very uncomfortable batch of shrooms. It takes a long time to kick in, you throw up and you’re super itchy as you get up. Basically they said, interesting once, but never again.

  12. “Then they never took acid, because LSD doesn’t make you hallucinate.”

    Well it sure as hell did back in the 70’s.

  13. Trust me. At a high dose, Dextromethorphane hallucinations are as weird as anything DMT can dish out — but it’s not intense, because you don’t feel a thing — it’s incredibly disassosiative.

    >>
    I heard that DXM is like a very uncomfortable batch of shrooms. It takes a long time to kick in, you throw up and you’re super itchy as you get up. Basically they said, interesting once, but never again.
    >>

    Completely the opposite. You are totally disassociated from your body.

    I’m not recommending it. It’s much harder on your body (particularly your stomach) than most psychedelics, even I would guess, those in the MDA family (Ecstasy etc.)

  14. If you want a total headfuck, then there’s no easier and cheaper way to go than with DXM. It’s nothing like nutmeg, it’s nothing like pot, it’s nothing like LSD.

    Visually, it makes your depth perception off, everything seems closer and smaller. Lights are much crisper.

    You’re thoughts are everywhere, making connections to things that you would never make. I think it gives any normal person the closest glimpse of what being insane is like.

    And it sure as hell can make you hallucinate. It doesn’t just make you see things, it replaces your entire surroundings. A bar becomes an evil satanic carnival. An emergency room becomes a space station. A bedroom becomes an ocean.

    DXM is most definitely not for everyone, but all in all, it is my favorite drug by far. Just like everything else, moderation is the key.

  15. An emergency room becomes a space station.

    Funny as hell that one of the places described just happens to be an emergency room.

  16. Funny as hell that one of the places described just happens to be an emergency room.

    Yeah, that’s what happens when your boyfriend calls you up while your peaking when he is out at a bar, and you start talking gibberish on the phone, and he freaks out. Everyone was pissed off by the end of that night.

  17. Rule #1 – Never answer the phone while tripping.

  18. Robo is defintely a good time, but not for everyone. Usually involves some projectile vomiting, but once that’s over with, you’re good to go. I don’t think my body could deal now though 15 yrs later. My first time, late into the night I was trying to go to sleep and a giant yellow scorpion appeared on my ceiling. Yeehaa!

  19. I’m told that Robitussin was more fun back in the day when it contained codine.

  20. Rule #1 – Never answer the phone while tripping.

    If you’re into obeying rules, you aren’t tripping.

  21. One of these days we’ll need a prescription for chicken noodle soup.

  22. I thought the most interesting part of the stats was that illegal drug use was no lower than cigarette use. So what is the drug war buying us? Making drugs illegal for everyone, not just illegal for kids like cigarettes are, is supposed to be “for the kids.” more here

  23. If you’re into obeying rules, you aren’t tripping.

    On the contrary, lots of ground rules are needed for good trips.

  24. How am I going to make syzurp for my holiday party guests if I can’t get any Robitussin?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_drank

  25. Why is this suddenly new. People used to “Robo” twenty years ago when I was in college.

  26. …college in the 80s…

    We used to take robo and play “Monster Trucks” —
    You could run full speed into anything and not feel it.

    now that was fun

  27. F’r chrissakes, nobody tell the drug warriors about the, ah, interesting effects gulping down seven or eight Dramamine can have. (And I’m surprised I’m the first one here to mention it. Hmmph.)

  28. You guys are dumb 4 putting this on here. Cuz now the ones who didnt know what it does are gonna try it. How dumb can you be?

  29. The people who abuse over the counter drugs really make it hard for the people who donot abuse and really need these meds. And what about the poor, they will have to go to the Dr. for a Rx for Robitussin. You want to be treated like adults but you drink Robitussin like its soda pop. Grow up!!!!

  30. Thankz for telling me this now i am gonna go get “high”

  31. everybody stop talking about it, you’re going to get us in trouble, and then nobody can have any fun anymore!

  32. In the first national survey on non-medical use of cold or cough medicine, the data show that 4.2 percent of eighth-graders, 5.3 percent of 10th graders, and 6.9 percent of 12th graders reported taking cold or cough medicines with dextromethorphan
    http://www.mirei.com

  33. The people who abuse over the counter drugs really make it hard for the people who donot abuse and really need these meds. And what about the poor, they will have to go to the Dr. for a Rx for Robitussin. You want to be treated like adults but you drink Robitussin like its soda pop. Grow up!
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  34. In the first national survey on non-medical use of cold or cough medicine, the data show that 4.2 percent of eighth-graders, 5.3 percent of 10th graders, and 6.9 percent of 12th graders reported taking cold
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