Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an active ingredient in cough syrups and pill forms of cold medicines. Though present in many over-the-counter household medicines for cough suppression and sore throats, dextromethorphan can also be a source of substance use for adolescents. Because it does not require a prescription, often parents do not recognize the potential risk for dextromethorphan (DXM) use and dependency. Recent studies have shown, however, that at least 10 percent of teenagers use cough syrups with dextromethorphan (DXM) as an active ingredient. This explains the need for our adolescent dextromethorphan (DXM) use treatment program.


Adolescents often use DXM-based medicines because they are an inexpensive and easily accessible means of getting high. Cough medicines are often readily available in a household medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, their use as a recreational drug is frequently unexpected and unnoticed.


  • NyQuil
  • Dimetapp
  • Tylenol Cough & Cold
  • Vick’s Formula 44
  • Mucinex DM
  • Robitussin
  • Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold
  • Cepacal
  • Zicam
  • Delays
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus
  • Tylenol Cold Max


DXM, when consumed in high doses, can cause hallucinations, increased energy and euphoria. It is not only in cough syrups but also through foreign online pharmaceutical websites as a powder concentrate. This powdered form of DXM can be dissolved into liquids or mixed in with other stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, increasing its potency and risk factors.

Users can experience pleasurable effects and hallucinations so severe that they endanger lives. While using Dextromethorphan (DXM), adolescents may see things that are not there or ignore physically present elements like stoplights, traffic, and other immediate threats that cannot be accurately processed by the brain. While there are cases of children overdosing from elevated levels of DXM, death by DXM overdose is not common with this drug. However, when DXM is combined with other substances, it can cause seizures and other alarming and potentially fatal side effects.

Parents should always monitor the accessibility of household medications, prescriptions, and over-the-counter drugs, particularly those that contain addictive ingredients like Dextromethorphan (DXM). Talking to your children about the effects and dangers of DXM and other drugs can reduce the drive to try them. Be open and calm about these conversations, and express your willingness to help.


DXM use can be a significant problem for you and your family. You may feel like there’s nothing that you can do. Your child is trapped in a neverending cycle of use. However, it doesn’t have to stay that way. At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, we’re focused on your child’s recovery from DXM use. As a result, we offer a wide range of treatment options for every teen that comes to our recovery center.

For instance, mental illness has some connection with substance use. Some teens, begin using DXM or other substances in a failed attempt to self-medicate from mental health problems. Other teens begin using substances, and mental illness occurs as a result. In such situations, adolescent substance use treatment or dual diagnosis treatment is critical. Otherwise, the unaddressed issue can lead to a relapse of the addressed issue. At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, we address a wide range of mental health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • ADHD
  • Mood disorders

If your child is using DXM or is currently struggling with dependence on another substance, there is still hope. To learn more about your teen’s treatment options, please call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Treatment Center today at 662.373.2828.