Two commonly misused cough medicines include Dextromethorphan (DXM) cough syrups and Promethazine-codeine cough syrups. DXM, a non-narcotic cough suppressant, can produce a high or dissociation (i.e. an out-of-body sensation) when ingested in large amounts.
In fact, the effects of DXM abuse have been compared to those of highly addictive hallucinogenic drugs such as PCP and ketamine. Codeine is an opioid drug that, when taken in higher than recommended doses, also produces a high and can be very addictive.
Since the 1950s, DXM has gradually replaced codeine as the most widely used cough suppressant in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) December 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, approximately one in thirty teens admit to drinking OTC cough syrup to get high.
In response to this trend, many states have implemented laws prohibiting the sale of cough syrups to minors.