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SB 307: Dextromethorphan: sale to minors ban (2005)


SB 307 (2005) would have banned the sale to minors of any nonprescription drug containing dextromethorphan. 

Final Status and Text

SB 307 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Did not pass the Legislature

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

Minors purchase and consume large quantities of products that contain DXM in order to get high.  This problem is serious, widespread, and growing.

Ingesting too much cold medicine can be just as hazardous as drinking too much alcohol.  And it is cheap, easy and legal for young people to obtain. 

The California Poison Control System reports that telephone consultations provided for patients aged 6-17 regarding abuse of dextromethorphan increased from 24 in 1999 to 284 in 2003, an increase of 1,183%.  In 1999 only 3% of the calls to CPCS for the 6-17 year old age bracket were regarding dextromethorphan abuse.  Last year (2003) the share of dextromethorphan abuse calls in this same age bracket increased to 25%.

The American Association of Poison Control reports that teen abuse of over-the-counter cold medications has doubled in the last four years nationally. 

Dextromethorphan was developed as a cough suppressant that would be less addictive and have fewer side effects than the narcotic, codeine.  When used in the doses recommended on cough syrup and tablet packaging, it is a very effective cough suppressant.  When taken at much higher doses, however, it acts as a disassociative anesthetic, similar to PCP and ketamine (Special K).  At high doses, dextromethorphan is also a central nervous system depressant.

It is known by the street names: “DXM, “robo,” “skittles,” “Triple C,” “Vitamin C,” “dex”, and “tussin.” Those who use the cough syrup to get high are sometimes called “syrup heads.”

Possible symptoms and side effects of dextromethorphan abuse include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Slurred speech, poor coordination and inability to move
  • Dizziness, confusion, distorted perceptions
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate, dilated pupils
  • Agitated, violent or psychotic
  • Seizures, heart attacks
  • Death

The internet is the easiest way for young people to obtain information on getting high with over-the-counter medications.  Many web sites encourage teenagers to abuse DXM and actually offer “recipes” for the best way to get a high.


News & Press Releases about SB 307

08/31/2011 - Simitian Bill To Curb DXM "Robotripping" Signed Into Law By Governor

08/18/2011 - Simitian Bill To Curb DXM "Robotripping" Goes To Governor For Approval

05/31/2011 - Simitian Bill to Curb DXM "Robotripping" Receives Senate Support

03/03/2011 - Simitian Announces 'Oughta Be a Law' Winners

01/09/2008 - Cough syrup: drug of choice for teens

01/09/2008 - Cough syrup: drug of choice for teens