Triple C's, or Cordies depending on what part of the country
you are from is a slang term for the over-the-counter medication
Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, which contains dextromethorphan,
or DXM. The medication is abused because it contains dextromethorphan
which, when taken in doses that dramatically exceed those
recommended by physicians and pharmacists, produces hallucinations
and a sense of dissociation. The medication is used legitimately
to treat the symptoms that typically result from colds or
upper respiratory allergies.
What is it Called?
STREET TERMS: Orange Crush, Triple C's, C-C-C, Red Devils,
Skittles, DXM or dex (for dextromethorphan), Vitamin D, Robo,
Robo-trippin', Candy and Robo-dosing.
What does Triple
C Look Like?
Triple C (Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold) is available as red
tablets containing 30 milligrams of dextromethorphan. It is
likely that individuals abuse similar products, which may
include Coricidin HBP Chest Congestion & Cough (available
as softgels containing 10 milligrams of dextromethorphan)
and Coricidin HBP Maximum Strength Flu (available as tablets
containing 15 milligrams of dextromethorphan).
How is Triple C abused?
Triple C tablets generally are taken orally. Powdered extractions
of dextromethorphan, which are either inhaled or repackaged
in capsules and swallowed, are reportedly available, but it
is unclear whether the drug has been extracted from Triple
C or from other medications containing dextromethorphan. (See
Who abuses Triple C?
It is difficult to gauge the extent to which Triple C and
other medications containing dextromethorphan are abused in
the United States because most data sources that provide estimates
of drug abuse do not report data regarding these drugs. Law
enforcement sources indicate that teenagers
and young adults are the principal abusers of dextromethorphan
and Triple C. Usually stocked on open shelves, Triple
C is susceptible to shoplifting, which has caused some stores
to place it behind the counter. Its accessibility and relatively
low price make it particularly attractive to young people,
especially compared to illicit drugs.
What are the Risks of Using
Coricidin HBP products have proven to be safe and effective
when users adhere to recommended doses (containing 10 to 30
milligrams of dextromethorphan taken every 6 hours). However,
abusers typically consume many times the recommended dose,
which produces hallucinations and dissociative effects similar
to those experienced with PCP (phencyclidine) or ketamine.
While under the influence of the drug, which can last for
as long as 6 hours, abusers risk injuring themselves and others
because of the drug's effects on visual perception and cognitive
processes. High doses of dextromethorphan result in an increased
body temperature, which poses a particularly acute health
threat if the drug is used in an environment--such as a rave
or dance club--where users are dancing among crowds of people.
Other risks associated with dextromethorphan
abuse include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, irregular
heartbeat, high blood pressure, headache, numbness of fingers
and toes, loss of consciousness, seizure, brain damage, and
possibly death. The risks to Triple C abusers are heightened
because the medications that are abused contain additional
ingredients such as expectorants, pain relievers, and antihistamines
that produce additional side effects and compound the risks
associated with dextromethorphan.
Is Triple C Illegal?
No, Triple C is not illegal. The medication is available without
a prescription because, when used properly, it has proven
to be safe and effective. Reports of dextromethorphan abuse,
however, have resulted in monitoring by the Drug Enforcement
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