Teen Slang for Cough and Cold Medicine Abuse

Parents, if you overheard kids talking or texting about getting high on cough or cold medicine, would you know what they were talking about? There are many slang words for abuse of dextromethorphan and other cold medicines. Get to know them. By educating yourself in drug slang, you can help protect your child.

DXM. A common abbreviation for dextromethorphan, a drug in many cough and cold medicines. It's abused by some teens because it can cause hallucinations and dissociative effects at high doses such as a loss of memory or a sense of being detached from reality.

Dex or Drex. Street terms for cold and cough medicines with dextromethorphan.

Dexing. Getting high on products with dextromethorphan.

Orange crush. A term for some cough medicines with dextromethorphan. It may stem from the orange-colored syrup -- and packaging -- of brands like Delsym.

Poor man's PCP, or Poor man's X. Products with dextromethorphan, since they're cheap but can cause effects similar to those of PCP or ecstasy at high doses.

Red devils. Another term for Coricidin tablets or other cough medicines.

Red hots. A term for capsules or tablets with dextromethorphan. The term comes from their resemblance to the candy.

Robo. Usually a reference to cough syrup with dextromethorphan. It derives from the brand name Robitussin, but it is common slang for any cough syrup.

Robo-dosing. Abusing products with dextromethorphan, like cough syrups.

Robo-fizzing. Combining cough medicine with soda or alcohol.

Robotard. A term for someone who abuses dextromethorphan.

Robo-tripping. Abusing products with dextromethorphan. The term refers to the hallucinogenic trips that people experience at high doses.

Rojo. Cold and cough medicines with dextromethorphan. "Rojo" is Spanish for "red," and refers to the color of many syrups and gelcaps.

Skittles. Usually applied to Coricidin tablets with dextromethorphan, since they have a size and shape similar to the candy.

Skittling. Another term for abusing products with dextromethorphan. It applies specifically to using Coricidin tablets, sometimes called Skittles after the candy.

Syrup head. Someone who uses cough syrups or other products with dextromethorphan to get high.

Triple C’s or CCCs. A term for Coricidin tablets with dextromethorphan, which have three small C's printed on each tablet for "Coricidin Cold and Cough."

Tussin. Another term for cough syrup with dextromethorphan.

Tussing. A term for using products with dextromethorphan. It refers to cough syrups such as Tussin or Robitussin.

Velvet or velvet syrup. Cough syrup with dextromethorphan.

Vitamin D. Another term for medicines with dextromethorphan, often applied to Robitussin products.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 16, 2019



Hallie Deaktor, director of public affairs, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, New York City.

Deborah Levine, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center; Bellvue Hospital, New York City.

Levine, D. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 2007; vol 19: pp 270-274.

Bryner, J.K. Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, December 2006; vol 160: pp 1217-1222.

U.S. Department of Justice web site: “Intelligence Bulletin DXM (Dextromethorphan), October, 2004.”

SAMHSA web site: “Legal But Lethal: The Danger of Abusing Over-the-Counter Drugs.”

Urban Dictionary.com.

Pharmacy Today web site: “Dextromethorphan abuse increasing rapidly among teens.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Pregnancy & Parenting Tips In Your Inbox

Doctor-approved information to keep you and your family healthy and happy.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.