Teens Abusing Dissociative Drugs
Dissociative drugs are just the fancy term for substances such as PCP (phencyclidine) and ketamine. Both of these disassociate drug were initially developed for their use in surgery. Dissociative drugs distort your perceptions of sight and sound, but the reason they get the term “dissociative” is because they cause feelings of detachment or dissociation from your environment and from yourself. Dissociative drugs are not the same as hallucinogens and the effects they produce are not known as hallucinations. PCP and ketamine, the most common dissociative drugs, are known properly as “dissociative anesthetics.”
The most common dissociative drug that teens use, that even you may take on a monthly basis is dextromethorphan which is found in cough suppressants at your local drugstore. When cough suppressants with dextromethorphan are taken in high doses they can produce effects very similar to their more potent sister drugs PCP and ketamine.
The ways that dissociative drugs work are by altering the distribution of the neurotransmitter glutamate throughout the brain. Glutamate has a lot to do with the perception of pain, your responses to your environment, and your memory. PCP is considered the poster child for dissociative drugs and the effects it produces widely apply to ketamine and dextromethorphan too.
So what does this have to do with teens abusing dissociative drugs? Well, teens can easily get their hands on dissociative drugs through cough suppressants and believe it or not, while it may not be as easy, can get their hands on ketamine too. The most popular dissociative drug that teens are abusing is dextromethorphan which you can find in Vicks and other name brand cough medicines and it’s over-the-counter too.
According to statistics in 2008, it was found that one in 10 American teens had abused products with dextromethorphan known to them as DXM. This makes a dissociative drug more popular than other illicit drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and meth. Does this mean you should never use cough syrup? No. Taking products with DXM in them is totally safe unless taken in large doses.
So teens are abusing dissociative drugs, but why?
- For one, a dissociative drug such as DXM is easy for them to get. There are numerous amounts of over-the-counter drugs that contain DXM. Teens are abusing dissociative drugs not even knowing exactly what they are. All teens know is that the DXM in cough syrups and even more commonly, oral tablets such as Coricidin, are making them “high.”
- Secondly, teens are abusing dissociative drugs because it is cheap. Compared to buying a small amount of cocaine for a little over 50 dollars, teens can abuse dissociative drugs for 5-10 dollars. It is easy to support a DXM habit when it is as cheap as cough syrup.
- Thirdly, teens are abusing dissociative drugs because there isn’t as much risk involved. Not only is it more expensive to seek out other illicit drugs such as cocaine or meth, it is also more dangerous. For teens, it is safer to walk into a drugstore than it is to go to a street corner or dealer’s house.
- And lastly teens are abusing dissociative drugs such as DXM because they think it is safer than doing drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or meth. This is incorrect unfortunately but because they aren’t getting the drugs from the street corner and DXM is legal and also a brand name medicine, it seems safer for teens to abuse.
There are a few other reasons teens are abusing dissociative drugs such as its popularity among the younger population and also the ability to keep it a secret from their parents. This makes for the high numbers of teens who are abusing DXM. This DXM use should be taken seriously because it can be a sign that a teen is willing to take other more dangerous drugs and also that they may want to get their hands on more serious dissociative drugs such as PCP and ketamine.
Either way, dissociative drugs being abused by teens has been a problem and continues to be one not only for themselves but also for their parents.