Dextromethorphan: Fact or fiction

Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 3:42 pm

The World Health Organization classified dextromethorphan as a non-analgesic, non-addictive substance in the late 1960s. In 1970, the Controlled Substance Act further added weight to this notion that dextromethorphan is not in the same class of drugs as its opiate forbearers in its abuse potential. This led to the decision of the DEA to leave dextromethorphan off its schedules of controlled substances.
However, in the period since this decision, it has become increasingly clear that dextromethorphan is an abused drug. The degree to which it is abused is not really known, and this explains why the DEA is carefully monitoring this over-the-counter drug and its increasing availability on the Internet. State drug enforcement agencies are also keeping a watchful eye on dextromethorphan and its abuse, especially among adolescents. Both the DEA and the states may move the drug to the list of controlled substances in the coming years. Such a move would likely deal a severe blow to the abuse of dextromethorphan.
Despite the undoubted increase in the abuse of dextromethorphan, it is not scientifically known how addictive the substance is. Officially, it is not considered a strongly addictive substance. However, the pattern of abuse would suggest that its addictive potential is greatly underrated.

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