Doctors, substance abuse counselors, and law enforcement are reporting that there is an explosion in the use of a drug called Triple C among US teens. Teenagers often find substances to abuse that are easy to access. This means turning to household chemicals, over the counter drugs, alcohol from mom and dad’s liquor cabinet, or prescriptions belonging to family members. It may take a little while to catch on, but eventually, from emergency rooms, doctors, and counselors, we get wise to what teens are doing.
Right now, there seems to be an epidemic of Triple C, also known as Red Devils, Orange Crush, DXM, Candy, Vitamin D, and Skittles—and the risks are high.
What Is Triple C
Triple C is a term that refers to a cold medicine that teens can buy in any drug store. It is called Coricidin HBP Cold and Cough. Unlike some other over the counter cold medicines that have been proven to be harmful and easy to abuse, Coricidin has no restrictions on it. A kid of any age can buy it and can buy as much as he wants.
While it is safe to take as directed on the packaging, Coricidin can have dangerous side effects when taken in larger quantities. And that is just what teens are doing. The directions on a box of the medicine recommend one tablet every four hours to relieve cold symptoms. To achieve a high and to feel psychedelic effects, teens abusing Triple C may take 10, 20, and even 30 pills at a time. Taking so many is extremely dangerous and can cause a coma, heart attack, and even death.
Using Dextromethorphan To Get High
Coricidin is just a brand name, and a common one, which is why it is abused more often than other cold medicines. The ingredient that produces a high in teens is a generic substance called dextromethorphan (DXM) and it is intended to relieve a cough associated with a cold or the flu. DXM relieves a cough by acting in the brain and suppressing the urge. It does not cure a cough or a cold; it simply relieves the symptoms for a few hours. Triple Cs, tablets or pills of Coricidin are not the only way to abuse DXM. Some teens may use another brand, or a cough syrup with the ingredient. This is often called robo or robo-trippin.
The Effects And Dangers Of Triple C
Triple C is abused by teens because it causes a high, but it also causes hallucinations in high quantities. To experience the desired effect requires taking much more than the recommended dosage. Other symptoms of a Triple C high include confusion, agitation, paranoia, and inappropriate laughter. You can also experience sensory changes like unusual sounds, a weird sense of touch, or a feeling of floating in midair.
The adverse physical effects that can occur as a result of taking too much DXM include lethargy, loss of coordination, sweating, high blood pressure, slurred speech, and involuntary spasms. Very high doses are needed to experience hallucinations, which means that teens going for that effect are especially in danger. These high doses can lead to a coma or even death. About five to ten percent of Caucasian people do not metabolize DXM very quickly, and this demographic is especially at risk of overdosing.
Mixing Triple C With Other Substances
Mixing Triple C with other substances can be even more dangerous than using it alone. Combining DXM with alcohol or with any other type of drug is risky, but taking it with antidepressants can be deadly. Additionally, many over the counter medicines with DXM also have other active ingredients like guaifenesin, acetaminophen, or chlorpheniramine, which cause their own side effects when taken in high doses.
Teaching Teens Risks Of Triple C
Teens are good at finding new substances to abuse, new ways to abuse them, and means for hiding their abuse. Adults and parents must be vigilant and aware of the many substances, most seemingly harmless, that can present such a danger to teens and kids. This does not mean that parents need to be ruthless protectors, never letting their kids out of sight, but it does mean that having an ongoing discussion about the dangers of any kind of substance abuse is important. As adults begin to catch on to Triple C, its prevalence and ill effects will hopefully begin to decrease.