06 December 2006


The ever-vigilant San Francisco Chronicle seems to have uncovered a "new" craze among teenagers, namely getting high by drinking whole bottles of cough syrup containing the chemical dextromethorphan hydrobromide, the best known of which is Robitussin. Since my friends and I were regularly imbibing the stuff 40 years ago, I don't know if this means we were ahead of the curve or the Chronicle, as usual, is far behind.

It's a truly vile substance, by the way, for any of you tempted to rush out to your local pharmacy and experiment with it. This hippie website prints a string of advisories that you'd think would dissuade nearly anyone with a couple of functioning brain cells to rub together from trying the stuff, but being that said website is all about facilitating and encouraging drug use, and hippies being hippies, probably not.

Even as far back as the 60s, Robo-heads were looked down on by more serious drug takers, i.e., hippies with the money and connections to get their hands on more sophisticated psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or even pot, and my cronies and I swiftly abandoned its use as soon as the California-style hippie drugs started rolling into town. Well, not completely, I must admit; there were a few times when I was seized with the desire to see what Robitussin combined with acid would do to me, and I have one particularly vivid memory - permanent hallucination might be the more accurate term - of clinging to a cliff on the side of Cincinnati's Mount Adams with what looked like the entire Ohio River spread out below me.

The combined effect of the drugs seemed to make hallucinations tangible rather than merely visual or auditory, and if you're the sort of person who thinks this is a good idea, well, go to it, but if on the other hand you're inclined to take my word for it, the DM in Robitussin stands for Dementor, the Harry Potter creatures who suck all the happiness and joy out of life and turn you into a blithering, miserable shadow of what you once were. Of course if you're not happy with who you once were, you might argue that you've got nothing to lose, which seems to be the underlying rationale of pretty much all mind-altering drug use.


G2 said...

damn larry, robitussin with acid? that sounds... well, wild... haha... i wanna try this before i die or something.


Have u tried that?

kendra said...

i prefer to call it "sippin' 'tuss".

Anonymous said...

Larry be sippin' on tuss n juice bitch

Jim Testa said...

Lester Bangs was a huge admirer of the cough syrup high.

I thought they took the really nasty stuff out of cough medicine in the US decades ago, though.

Larry Livermore said...

In the 60s you could get cough medicine with codeine in it, and in fact they may still make it, but it would be prescription only. But that's a very different kind of high. The one time I tried it I fell on my face in the middle of the dance floor, and this was after going partway through the windshield in a car wreck on the way to the club. The active ingredient in Robitussin and its imitators is a somewhat more psychedelic and hallucinogenic substance, as opposed to codeine, which of course is a plain old narcotic.

JAB in Seattle said...

Hardcore kids in Little Rock used to decant the active ingredient from Robitussin and the like. Never seemed like much fun.

29 from rochester said...

ahahaha i be sippin on some tussin right now hold my drink bitch i stay sippin that purple lore