It may seem silly, but if you have a teenager, you need to talk to him about the dangers of abusing over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Although a number of brands and generic products can be abused this way, a common slang term for any such cold medicine is triple C. Stats about teen substance abuse tell us that young people really do abuse these medicines to get high, and the risks are serious. Learn more about this phenomenon and then talk to your teen to keep him protected.
What Is Triple C?
The slang term triple C comes from one brand of cold medicine called Coricidin Cough and Cold. Any cold medicine can be abused, though, as long as it contains the active ingredient called dextromethorphan, or DXM, a cough suppressant. Other slang terms for cold medicine abuse include just Cs, robo or robo-trippin, vitamin D, DXM, candy, skittles and orange crush. Why would kids abuse a cough suppressant? Because of DXM, the effects of triple Cs, especially in doses higher than what is recommended, can make you feel spacey, detached and slightly euphoric. It’s an easy high that young people chase because it’s fairly simple to get their hands on a product sold over the counter.
What Are The Dangers Of Triple C?
DXM and the cold medicines it comes in are generally safe to use as directed. However, there are some potential side effects. When a teen takes twice, three times or even four times the recommended dose, these side effects become more likely, more severe and more dangerous. Most teens assume that abusing a drug that you can legally buy in a store is low risk. This only adds to the danger and leads teens to take a much higher dose of the DXM than is safe.
Side effects of triple C that teens abusing cold and cough medicines may experience include:
- Abdominal pain
- Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
The intensity of side effects increases with the dosage of the medication. In rare but serious cases, a teen may even experience seizures as a result of abusing triple C. Extremely high doses can cause brain damage and may even result in a fatality.
Protect Your Teen From Triple C
The best thing you can do to protect your teen from the often-overlooked danger of cough medicine is to talk to him. Now that you know how risky it is to take DXM in high doses, pass that information on to your teen. Tell him that you think it is unacceptable to abuse a drug of any kind, whether it comes from over the counter or not. It may seem unlikely, but you as a parent are the number one influence on your teen’s choices. Talk to him, be involved in his life and his friends, and you can help him to make the best choices.