Dextromethorphan is a cough-suppressing ingredient found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medications usually marked “extra strength.” When taken as directed, it is a safe and effective cough reliever.
Known as “DXM” or “Robo,” dextromethorphan is a popular drug with adolescents because it’s more readily available than illicit drugs. When high doses are taken, the drug causes effects similar to those of PCP and ketamine.4
Because it is contained in cough syrup, dextromethorphan is taken orally. Low dosages can it can produce a mild stimulant effect and possibly distorted visual perceptions. At higher dosages, users report experiencing a complete detachment from one’s body, like other dissociative drugs.
Additionally, because the cough syrup in which dextromethorphan is found usually contains antihistamine and decongestant also, high dosages of those drugs can produce other dangerous effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness, lack of coordination, blurred vision, increased heart rate, and low blood pressure.