Substance Use

What is Triple C? Is it a Dangerous Drug?

coricidin cough cold medicine

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Is Coricidin Cough & Cold a Dangerous Drug?

When people talk about Triple C, they’re referring to the Coricidin Cough & Cold brand of medicine. This cough suppressant and decongestant can be purchased without a prescription and even sourced online. This accessibility makes it easy for teens and young adults to buy and abuse it. The main active ingredient, dextromethorphan (DXM), produces a high.

Taking this product in any way other than instructed on the label can result in negative side effects and, in large doses, can cause a Triple C overdose. The abuse potential of Triple C is another significant concern. The longer someone abuses Triple C, the higher the risk of complications — including coma and death. 

If you or your loved one are abusing Triple C or other substances, Zinnia Health can help. With locations across the country, we’ve helped thousands break free from the grips of addiction and address their mental health. Discover more about Zinnia’s comprehensive treatment process.

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A Closer Look at Triple C

Triple C has many street names:

  • DXM
  • Dex
  • Skittles
  • Robo
  • Poor man’s PCP

Users refer to this product as Triple C based on one of the first brands, Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold (CCC), which printed “CCC” on pills. While Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold is a well-known brand, many generic products are available. Those abusing this product are seeking the high produced by dextromethorphan, the common cough suppressant.

Most Coricidin cough medicine products are tablets, but there are liquid options. Cough syrup abuse traditionally involved drinking large doses of this product. However, more recently, abuse of tablets and gel capsules has increased.

When taken in low doses, you can effectively reduce coughing and congestion. However, when taking large doses, users often experience a high characterized by disassociation and a floating sensation. In fact, Triple C is similar to ketamine.

The Effects of Triple C

When taken as directed, you rarely experience side effects of Triple C. During Triple C intoxication and at high doses, you can anticipate a range of effects.

Common Effects of Triple C

  • Over-excitability 
  • Lethargy/drowsiness 
  • Involuntary eye movements 
  • Hypertension 
  • Sweating 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea
  • Poor coordination 

Effects of Triple C at High Doses

When abused in high doses, users can experience the following:

  • Euphoria 
  • Visual hallucinations 
  • Auditory hallucinations 

As the dosage increases, some users experience:

  • Loss of motor coordination 
  • Out-of-body sensations 
  • Dissociative effects 

These are the effects that many users seek, which on the streets is referred to as “robo-tripping” or “dexing.”

Severe Complications of Triple C

Depending on the user’s medical history and the dosage, severe complications can also include:

  • Coma 
  • Seizures 
  • Hypertensive emergency 
  • Psychosis 
  • Respiratory depression/apnea 
  • Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening condition)

Are you or your loved one suffering from Triple C addiction? Do you have questions about the next steps? Call our supportive, professional healthcare team at (855) 430-9439 — and check out our nationwide Zinnia Health locations today.

What Are the Risks of Triple C?

Several concerns surround Triple C abuse, especially when users become addicted. The longer you take this product or the higher the dose, the greater the chance you’ll experience significant adverse effects. 

Impacts All Aspects of Life

When someone becomes addicted to Triple C, all aspects of their life are often impacted. For example, when abused as a teenager or young adult, users may stop going to school or isolate themselves from their peers who don’t know about or approve of their Triple C use.

Adults abusing Triple C may negatively impact their:

  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Health

Risk of Fatal Overdose

In severe cases, users can experience a fatal overdose. Approximately 5-10% of individuals are poor at metabolizing DXM, increasing their risk of overdoses and deaths. Those with pre-existing health conditions, such as issues with blood pressure, should be extremely cautious. However, all users are at risk of complications at large doses, regardless of their current health status. 

When combined with other substances or alcohol, the risk of dangerous complications increases further. In most fatal cases, Triple C is taken with another substance. Also, fatal accidents can result based on how it impairs the senses. 

In a 2023 case study, a 19-year-old consumed 111 tablets of DXM, resulting in shock and convulsions. She required intensive care, which ultimately saved her life. This situation involved mental health concerns, showcasing the importance of a dual diagnosis assessment. 

If someone is experiencing severe DXM toxicity, you must seek professional care. In recent years, case studies have highlighted scenarios when overdose was reversed by naloxone. Each case is unique, so if you suspect your loved one is under the influence of several substances, including DXM, it may be an emergency situation. 

Triple C Addiction How to Get Treated

When users start experimenting with DXM, many abuse it regularly. Since this over-the-counter medication is so accessible at drug stores, overcoming addiction can be challenging. Research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that in 2022, millions were misusing cough and cold medicines. 

Here’s a breakdown of SAMHSA’s findings based on how many people were misusing these medications:

  • A total of 173,000 adolescents (aged 12 to 17) misused nonprescription cough and cold medicines in the past year.
  • A total of 243,000 young adults aged 18 to 25 misused nonprescription cough and cold medicines in the past year.
  • A total of 1.2 million adults aged 26 or older misused nonprescription cough and cold medicines in the past year.

If you’re one of these individuals or are worried about someone you love, help is available. 

Zinnia Health Can Help

Addiction treatment isn’t the same journey for everyone. When seeking addiction or mental health treatment options, choose the assistance of a treatment facility that offers comprehensive, customized support.

Individuals sometimes abuse multiple substances and require a medical detox treatment plan to minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure greater safety. Others begin their recovery journey with an outpatient program, and some immediately opt for an inpatient treatment program. 

At Zinnia, we offer evidence-based therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic treatment. Programs are tailored based on your individualized needs and adjusted as you achieve your recovery milestones. 

If you think you’re ready to take the next step or would like to find out more information for a loved one, contact Zinnia Health. The longer you abuse legal or illicit drugs, the greater the risk of severe consequences and health problems. Start your recovery journey and heal for good today.

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(855) 430-9439
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