Triple C

Triple C is a slang term for the cold medication Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, which contains the hallucinogenic ingredient dextromethorphan. The most commonly abused DXM product, triple C is often used by teens looking for a quick high.
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Triple C is a street name for Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, a popular brand of cough and cold medicine that is commonly abused by teens. Multiple Coricidin products contain the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, a medication that can produce hallucinations and dissociation when taken in high doses.

Fast Facts: Triple C

Abuse Potential
Scientific Name
Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide
Drug Class
Street Names
CCC, DXM, Skittles, Candy, Red Devils
How It's Used
Swallowed, Snorted, Injected
Side Effects
Hallucinations, Slurred Speech, Poor Muscle Control, Dizziness, Paranoia
Legal Status
Unregulated by the Controlled Substances Act

DXM products are not regulated by the federal government. This means that they can be purchased without a written prescription. The substance is safe when taken as instructed, but abusing Coricidin products can result in coma or death.

Although 15 states have banned the sale of dextromethorphan products to minors, teens continue to misuse the drugs for their hallucinogenic effects. To prevent your child from abusing triple C, it is important to understand the dangers of DXM medicines.

What Does Triple C Look Like?

Coricidin HBP is available in several versions, including formulas for cough and cold, chest congestion, and the flu. Some adolescents call the drug “skittles” because the pills resemble the popular candy.

triple c

Teens say Triple C looks and tastes like candy.

Commonly Abused Triple C Medications
Product Name Appearance Dose of Dextromethorphan
Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold Red tablets (round) 30 milligrams
Coricidin HBP Chest Congestion & Cough Red softgel capsules 10 milligrams
Coricidin HBP Maximum Strength Flu Red tablets (oblong) 15 milligrams

People who abuse triple C often swallow high doses of the medication in pill form. Powdered forms of dextromethorphan, which are available over the internet, can be ingested, injected or snorted. However, it is not known whether the powder is extracted from Coricidin products or other DXM medications.

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Effects of Triple C

Dextromethorphan is a hallucinogen that can alter a person’s perception and behavior. When misused, it can produce euphoria, hallucinations and delusions. The more of the drug consumed, the more intense the effects become.

A triple C high, also known as robotripping, can cause the following health effects:

  • Stomach pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision changes
  • Poor muscle control
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea and abdominal pain
  • Brain damage

The effects of Coricidin HBP products can last up to six hours when taken in excessively high doses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The medicine is typically safe and effective when people take 10 to 30 milligrams every six hours. But high doses can lead to adverse reactions, including overdose. Symptoms of a DXM overdose include breathing problems, increased body temperature, intense hallucinations, seizures and coma.

Repeatedly taking high doses of dextromethorphan can cause toxic psychosis, a mental condition in which a person loses contact with reality.

Coricidin products may contain medications other than dextromethorphan that can cause health problems. One example is acetaminophen, an ingredient that can cause liver damage in high doses.

Preventing Triple C Abuse

According to law enforcement, triple C is primarily misused by adolescents. Teens often steal the medication and sell it to their friends. This has caused many retail stores to place it behind counters rather than on open shelves.

Many parents are unaware of their child’s misuse of these products. However, a teen using dextromethorphan recreationally may exhibit a number of physical and behavioral changes.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, teens who abuse cough medicines such as triple C may exhibit:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Paranoia

Signs of triple C abuse include empty cough medicine packaging in the trash, missing products from the medicine cabinet and declining grades. Teens abusing Coricidin HBP may also become hostile and uncooperative with parents or teachers.

Teen drug abuse can cause lasting harm to the adolescent brain, but you can protect your child from the dangers of triple C in several ways.

First, educate yourself on the effects of dextromethorphan. Understanding how DXM products can affect a person’s physical and psychological health can help you explain the dangers of these drugs to your child.

Be sure to closely monitor your teen’s internet access because DXM medications are often sold online. You should also safeguard your medicine cabinets to prevent your child from misusing cough medicine and prescription drugs.

Teens who continue to abuse triple C despite the risks and consequences may require professional treatment. Rehab facilities offer evidence-based treatment that meets each patient’s specific needs. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment option that aims to change thoughts and behaviors toward drugs such as triple C.

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Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Matt Gonzales
Content Writer,
Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for He graduated with a degree in journalism from East Carolina University and began his professional writing career in 2011. Matt covers the latest drug trends and shares inspirational stories of people who have overcome addiction. Certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in health literacy, Matt leverages his experience in addiction research to provide hope to those struggling with substance use disorders.

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