A disturbing new trend among teenagers is cause for concern, according to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Robo Cough, an over-the-counter cough suppressant, is gaining traction as a method of getting high. “Robo Tripping” is a trend in which teenagers consume dangerously high quantities of Robo Cough, a liquid cough suppressant.
Like most over-the-counter cough medicines, Robo Cough contains the active ingredient DXM, or dextromethorphan. According to Josh Dale of the Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force, unlike other popular cough suppressant brands, Robo Cough contains a highly-concentrated dosage of DXM.
“When consumed for recreational purposes or if it’s abused, it's causing adverse reactions in the people abusing it,” Dale warned. “We’re asking everybody to not only be careful with all over-the-counter medications, but specifically this, which is marketed as a powerful cough suppressant. Do not consume and abuse this, most importantly, because these high doses of DXM can be harmful.”
In an effort to spread awareness about the dangers of the trend, the Sheriff’s Office released a public service announcement. In the video, two families spoke anonymously about their experiences with their children, who had consumed potentially-lethal doses of DXM.
One mother found her 16-year-old son and his 16-year-old friend barely responsive in her son’s room after the teens had taken the drug. “I got on the phone with poison control,” the mother said. “I told them what they had taken. I told him the ingredient was dextromethorphan, and I explained to them that they had taken two bottles each, which was a total of 900 milligrams. The guy at poison control said, ‘You need to hang up the phone with me and call 911 and have them transported.’”
The boys made a full recovery, but it was close. The mother is certain that if she had not checked in on the boys and found them in a state of duress, the children would have died.
After the incident, the family learned that the boys had obtained Robo Cough from Amazon.com. According to Sheriff Troy Nehls, the ease of accessibility of the substance is one of the most disturbing aspects of the trend. “It’s a legal substance, but it’s very dangerous to the families of Fort Bend County,” Nehls said.
Because the substance is legal, law enforcement officials cannot conduct a criminal investigation. However, the Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in spreading awareness for the dangerous product and its potentially deadly trend.