Robotripping and Skittling: Is Your Teen Abusing?

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“Robotripping” is the term referring to ingestion of large amounts Robitussin DM to induce a high. Teens will typically purchase a 4 or 8-oz. bottle at their local store, bring it home and drink the entire contents in the privacy of their rooms. Parents should be alerted to this practice if they are finding empty bottles of Robitussin DM in their rooms or trash. The active ingredient is dextromethorphan or “DXM,” which causes effects similar to alcohol intoxication including: slurred speech, agitation or drowsiness, staggered walk, and in larger amounts, hallucinations.

“Skittling” is the term used by teens to describe ingestion of large amounts of Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold. This formulation also contains the cough suppressant dextromethorphan and an antihistamine called chlorpheniramine. Ingestion of large amounts of this product — also referred to as “triple C’s” — can cause intoxication-like effects, but can also cause a dangerous increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and possibly seizures.

Robitussin and Coricidin products come in many forms. Ingestion of other formulations of these products containing acetaminophen can cause death by liver failure.

During National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, 2005 the professionals at the Minnesota Poison Control System are reminding parents to take the time to talk with their teens about the potentially deadly affects of over-the-counter medications, inhalants and other chemicals of abuse in addition to accidental exposures.

The staff at the Hennepin Regional Poison Center can answer questions about drug trends, signs and symptoms seen with use, and they can offer referral resources for help. It doesn’t have to be an emergency to consult the certified poison information specialists at HRPC; anyone can call 1-800-222-2122 anytime, day or night.

The Hennepin Regional Poison Center (HRPC) at Hennepin County Medical Center is designated by the Minnesota Department of Health to be the Minnesota Poison Control System. The HRPC answers more than 70,000 calls every year from Minnesota residents and healthcare providers statewide. The HRPC is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) and staffed primarily by pharmacists certified by the AAPCC as Specialists in Poison Information. The HRPC is a free service available to all residents and healthcare providers statewide by dialing 1-800-222-1222 from any phone in Minnesota 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.