What are Triple C’s?
A cold and flu medicine with potential for abuse, sometimes called “Triple C’s,” has gained attention recently, particularly among teenagers and young adults. Triple C’s stands for Coricidin® HBP Cough & Cold, a brand of over-the-counter medication. This medication is used to treat common cold and flu symptoms, such as coughing and congestion, and dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant that produces psychoactive effects when taken in large quantities. Another term for misusing DXM is “robo-tripping,” which involves the name-brand cold and cough medicine Robitussin®. Other street names for dextromethorphan include CCC, Triple C, DXM, Dex, Poor Man’s PCP, Skittles, and Robo.
What Are the Effects of Triple C’s
In large doses, dextromethorphan (DXM), the active ingredient in Triple C’s, acts on the brain in a way that can produce psychoactive effects. DXM is a dissociative anesthetic, which can create a sense of detachment or separation from the environment and self. It affects neurotransmitter activity in the brain, particularly impacting the areas that regulate perception and behavior.
When taken in high doses, DXM can lead to a distortion in sensory perceptions, producing hallucinations and a feeling of being disconnected from reality. This is often described as a “high” that can include visual and auditory hallucinations, altered perception of time and space, and a feeling of floating or dissociation from one’s body. The intensity of these effects can vary based on the dosage, the individual’s physiology, and other factors, such as the presence of other substances in the body.
The following are common experiences reported by those who misuse Triple C’s:
- Euphoria: Many users report a feeling of intense happiness or euphoria. This heightened mood state is often what draws individuals, especially young adults, to misuse these medications.
- Altered Perception: Misuse of Triple C’s can lead to altered sensory perceptions. Users might experience changes in how they perceive time, visual stimuli, and even their sense of self, often described as a dream-like state.
- Dissociative Effects: DXM can induce a dissociative state in higher doses, where individuals feel detached from their body or reality. This can be both intriguing and disorienting, contributing to the drug’s appeal for some.
- Hallucinations: Visual and auditory hallucinations can occur, where users see or hear things that aren’t present. This can be part of the ‘trip’ that some seek from abusing Triple C’s.
It’s important to note that the experience can vary widely among individuals, and some may not have a pleasant experience. Large doses of DXM may cause anxiety, confusion, or dysphoria (a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life). Moreover, the after-effects of using DXM, often termed the ‘comedown,’ can include feelings of lethargy, disorientation, and depression.
Dangers & Side Effects of Abusing Triple C’s
The misuse of Triple C’s is often driven by their accessibility, as they can be purchased without a prescription. Despite their legal status, Triple C’s pose significant health risks when abused. High doses of DXM can lead to serious side effects, including:
- Impaired judgment and motor coordination
- Dizziness and nausea
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Severe respiratory distress
- Potential for hallucinations and dissociative states
Although safe when taken as recommended, there is a risk of overdosing on Triple C’s when used for recreational purposes. An overdose of DXM can result in severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bluish or reddened skin, unconsciousness, seizures, and even death. The risk of overdose increases with higher doses and when combined with other drugs or alcohol. Overdosing on Triple C’s is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention from healthcare professionals.
Can You Get Addicted to Triple C’s?
While not extremely common, repeated misuse of any substance can lead to addiction. Triple C’s does have the potential for addiction when used in excess. The body may develop a tolerance to DXM, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects, leading to physical dependence. Once dependent, if the individual tries to quit or cut back their use of Triple C’s, they may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be both physical and psychological and may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Sweating and shivers
- Anxiety and irritability
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Confusion and disorientation
- Hallucinations or delusions in severe cases
These withdrawal symptoms can be particularly challenging to manage and can lead to a relapse if not properly addressed. The process of withdrawal indicates a need for a structured and supportive environment, especially for young adults.
If you’re seeking support for yourself or a loved one, Wellness Retreat Recovery Center can help. Call us today at 888-738-0692 to speak with an expert from our team about how we can support you.
Signs Your Teen or Young Adult is Abusing Triple C’s
Various studies indicate that the age group most commonly abusing Triple C’s or DXM falls within the teenage years, highlighting a significant concern for adolescents’ health and well-being due to the accessibility and psychoactive effects of these over-the-counter medications.
Recognizing the signs of addiction in teenagers or young adults can be challenging, especially with substances like DXM, which are easily accessible and might not initially be viewed as dangerous. If you suspect your teenager or adolescent might be abusing or addicted to Triple C’s, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Frequent Use of Cough Medications: Notice if there is an unusual or frequent consumption of cough and cold medicines without actual cold or flu symptoms.
- Changes in Physical Appearance: Look for signs like red or glazed eyes, unexplained weight loss or gain, and a general decline in personal grooming or hygiene.
- Behavioral Changes: Sudden changes in behavior such as increased secrecy, withdrawal from family activities, changes in friend groups, or a drop in academic performance can be indicative of substance abuse.
- Mood Swings or Emotional Instability: If your teenager or young adult exhibits unusual mood swings, irritability, or seems emotionally unstable or depressed, it could be a sign of drug misuse.
- Physical Symptoms: Symptoms like dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, or uncoordinated movement can be direct indicators of Triple C’s misuse.
- Sleep Pattern Changes: Excessive sleepiness or an inability to sleep can be signs of substance abuse.
- Financial Issues: An unexplained need for money or finding that money is missing can be a sign, especially if it’s coupled with other behavioral changes.
- Possession of Multiple Cough Medicine Packages: Finding empty or numerous cough medicine packages in their belongings could be a red flag.
- Neglecting Responsibilities: Skipping school, neglecting homework, or not showing up for work are common in those struggling with addiction.
- Social Isolation: A noticeable withdrawal from social interactions, family events, and former hobbies can indicate a problem.
If you or a family member is looking for support with substance use, reach out to Wellness Retreat Recovery Center today. Our addiction treatment programs for adults, seniors, and young adults include various family resources, including family therapy, education, and recovery. Call today to learn more. 888-738-0692
Wellness Retreat Can Help
If you notice signs consistent with substance abuse in your teenager or a loved one, it may be time to discuss your concerns. At Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, we understand the complexities of substance abuse and the unique challenges posed by over-the-counter drug misuse. Our facility in San Jose, California, offers a comprehensive approach to treatment, including specialized addiction treatment for young adults.
If you’re seeking help for yourself or a loved one, contact our San Jose addiction treatment facility at 888-738-0692. Take the first step toward healing and recovery.