Kids Flaunt Cough-Syrup Abuse Online

cough syrup

It's legal, easy to get and probably in your home right now.

But kids are getting high off of it - and plenty of videos online show that. On YouTube, video after video shows kids flaunting their highs, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports.

Kids saying: "My brain is like whoo," "I'm like flying right now," and "I'm tripping so hard," are all on the same drug: DXM.

DXM is dextromethorphan, the cough-suppressant found in more than 100 over-the-counter cough medicines.

Today's parents may warn their kids about marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, but when it comes to DXM, most parents are clueless … or worse.

"There's a mix of 'oh, it's not that bad,' or actual relief: 'oh, my kid's just getting high on cough medicine!'" said Steve Pasierb of Partnership for Drug-Free America.

It's called robo-tripping, skittling, tussin or triple-c. One-in-10 kids admits to it, and while parents think drugs start with high school, the average age first-time use is between 12 and 13.

"It was cheap, it was fun, and it was easy to get," said one teen named Derrick.

He started abusing DXM at 16. Then he added marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin within a year.

"It'll ruin your life cause that's all you'll think about," said Laura, who used for just a few months.

"Everyone noticed me when I was on it. I just wanted to be noticed I guess," she said.

Laura and Derrick are currently in rehab, where 60 percent of the kids have abused cold medicine. Some blame the Internet for spreading the word.

"Kids go online and Google, 'cheap way to get high,' ... they're met with literally thousands of sites," Pasierb said.

And the sites are a crash course in Drug Abuse 101. There are even calculators to comute doseage based on a weight for a tailor-made high. It can be eight to 12 times the recommended amount.

But parents can fight back.

  • Know how much cold medicine you have in the house.
  • Don't leave it sitting in a bathroom cabinet.
  • Tell your kids, despite what they may see on the Internet, there is no safe way to get high.

    "I lost my family, I lost a lot of my capabilities," Derrick said. "I lost time. I lost my childhood."

    And adolescence is tough enough without drugs.

    For more information about kids and substance abuse, including educational materials, see:
  • Daytop Village (Adolescent Substance Abuse Program)
  • Partnership for Drug-Free America