Dextromethorphan: In the news

Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 3:43 pm

There is evidence that most abusers keep abusing dextromethorphan because it is legal and readily available. In addition, the pattern of abuse spreads from one person to another within a social group and from one social group to another as young people gather at venues where other drugs such as ecstasy are being used.
An entire subculture is beginning to develop around the abuse of dextromethorphan. This subculture tends to encourage the use and abuse of the drug. Musical groups such as Oedipus Complex, Dr. Max, and Nightchild devote songs to the drug and reportedly write some of their songs while under the influence of the drug. There are now several Web sites on the Internet that encourage the use of dextromethorphan.
Many of these sites have graphics that are purportedly similar visually to the mental images that are sometimes generated when abusing the drug. These Web sites also contain information about how to purchase, produce, and take the drug. Some of the more responsible sites offer information about risks and side effects. Other sites contain information about how to obtain bulk quantities of dextromethorphan powder that enables individuals to package the drug into capsules or tablets to be sold or given away at raves or dance clubs. Often, the formulations are designed in an attractive manner with varying colors and shapes. This type of production and distribution is especially dangerous since there is no quality control as in over-the-counter cough formulations, and doses can be wildly variable.
Many of those concerned with the problem of dextromethorphan abuse are pointing to education as the best solution to the problem, at least in the short term. Prevention is an approach that is more effective when a drug is illegal or available only through prescription. Dextromethorphan will likely be legal and available over the counter for some time. Another unusual feature of dextromethorphan is that it is not detectable with standard drug testing, so most drug treatment programs, organizations, and corporations do not test for it. Testing plays a large role in the control of illicit drugs.
Dextromethorphan is a relatively inexpensive drug for individuals to abuse due to its legal status and an abundant supply of the substance as an over-the-counter drug. These factors are the primary reason for the increasing abuse of the drug. It is one of the easiest ways for adolescents to become intoxicated without breaking the law, as is the case for illegal drugs such as marijuana, prescription drugs such as oxycodone, and legal but restricted substances such as alcohol.

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