What is Dextromethorphan?


What is Dextromethorphan?

Typically used to suppress cough, Dextromethorphan works with the brain to shut down the signals that tell the brain to cough. The drug does not work in stopping coughing related to emphysema, asthma or smoking. This drug is found in most cough medications sold over the counter.

Dextromethorphan, also known as DXM, is also used as a recreational drug producing effects similar to phencyclidine and ketamine or PCP.


Users of the DXM are hoping for the hallucinations, altered perception of time and sharpened or heightened senses. Those who abuse DXM seem to be hyper-excited, suffer from slurred speech, lethargy, anxiety and sweating.

Extensive abuse of Dextromethorphan (DXM) can cause high blood pressure, heart damage, liver damage and nervous system toxicity. The American Association of Poison Control Centers over 52,991 cases are related to the misuse of DXM. There over 7,000 reported cases of emergency room visits relating to the non-medical related use of Dextromethorphan. Because the drug is so readily available in over the counter medications, it is easy for individuals to misuse it and become addicted to the use. This also has made it easier for teens to abuse this drug in the past since the drug is easily accessible in many medicine cabinets.

How is Dextromethorphan Abused?

Most of the people that abuse Dextromethorphan do so by ingesting it orally, but some people buy and snort the powdered form of Dextromethorphan instead. People who are abusing Dextromethorphan can do so in various amounts depending on their current body weight, and in general it has to do with what effect or plateau they are specifically attempting to reach. The first plateau of Dextromethorphan abuse is mild inebriation, but it escalates from there to second, third and fourth plateaus that involve more intense degrees of drug use and abuse.

The second plateau is similar in nature to alcohol intoxication, and sometimes there are also mild hallucinations as well. The person abusing the Dextromethorphan may have slurred speech and their short term memory may become impaired on a temporary basis. During the third plateau, the Dextromethorphan abuser is going to experience an altered consciousness state, and their senses may become impaired, especially when it comes to the vision.

In the fourth plateau of Dextromethorphan abuse, people can experience out of body experiences as well as mind and body dissociation issues. The Dextromethorphan abuser may actually lose contact with his or her senses during this period of time. The effects that are experienced at this particular plateau have been compared to the effects that are caused by drugs like PCP and ketamine. Obviously this is the most dangerous plateau, but all plateaus of Dextromethorphan abuse and use can be harmful.

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