My friend was an alcoholic who stopped drinking and drugging, but shocked us when he continued on a downward spiral of self destruction, which he maintained with surprising ease. He had no drug connections and no link to an addict’s way of life. But he kept getting high. How?
Not a typical addict
How did he consistently day in and day out score enough product to maintain a state of complete intoxication? He was a shy guy. He never went into bad neighborhoods. He spent most of his time alone. I found out that he was able to get access to a drug as potent as any street or pharmaceutical grade narcotic simply by going into his local pharmacy. He was a student who worked at the library every day from nine to five and then studied at home on the evenings. He had few friends, and no real social life. He kept himself to himself, effortlessly self contained. I found out how.
The every day deadly kind
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is the chemical compound used to suppress coughing, found in most home cold remedies. Robitussin, Tylenol, Dayquil, Nyquil and all other brand name cough syrups contain small amounts of DXM to relive chest pain and stop chronic bouts of retching and hacking. When ingested in large doses, and all at once, however, DXM has a more potent effect on the brain than even medium dosages of heroin or ecstasy.
Out of body experience
DXM is a dissociative, meaning that it separates consciousness from all bodily functions. The patient feels as though he is watching everything happening from a distance. He feels separate from the sensation of things. He is not emotionally bound to pain and so can experience events without becoming immediately attached, agitated, or sad. Over time, however, the experience of being disconnected mind from spirit can leave the individual feeling paranoid and extremely anxious–constantly wondering what is real and what is not.
In the short term, the effects of the disassociation are calming and euphoric. The individual can drift along happily watching life. Unlike alcohol or cocaine, DXM will not make its subject angry or aggressive. There is nothing to worry about.
Over a few hours the subject will sweat a lot, and become aware that he or she is not quite in sync with the world at large. This can cause the subject to seem quite strange to other people, although he will never be threatening or harmful. As the effects of the euphoria wear off the individual may have trouble urinating, or sleeping. His or her body may spasm, There is a slight risk of seizure.
DXM is a dangerous product, because although few people know of its potential usage, it is available on almost every street corner. It is cheap, abundant, and you do not need a doctor to prescribe it. Children can theoretically buy DXM on their lunch break. For recovering drug addicts who think they are safely avoiding people, places and things, the presence of such an easily available non-narcotic alternative to alcohol is troubling to say the least.