Teen Warns Others of ‘Robotripping’ Danger

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND--A young woman from Northeast Ohio is issuing a warning about the abuse of a popular over-the-counter medication.

Samantha Hodge, 18, still struggles with the side effects of taking an abundance of Robitussin. The practice of abusing the medication, manufactured by Pfizer, is known as Robotripping.

“It was just recently, like, I don’t know, two or three months, that I started with the Robotripping,” said Samantha. “I tried it one night and, the one time I tried it, I instantly got hooked.”

Samantha was hooked because of a key ingredient in the medication, Dextromethorphan, or DXM. When used properly, DXM is supposed to help someone with a cough or cold overcome their symptoms, but it can offer a high-like state to abusers.

“Over-confidence, hallucinations, get very jittery, very antsy. I hear things and I see things. I have nightmares. I see aliens. I see demons. I hear - like - an orchestra,” said Samantha.

Her mother, Melissa Hodge, has been very concerned about her well-being. “It’s very scary - very scary. My heart’s broke,” said Melissa.

According to Samantha, she almost died several weeks ago when she was rushed to the hospital after taking too much of the medication and it wasn’t accidental; she was trying to get high.

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, DXM abuse among teens has risen.

“Never, ever, ever exceed the amount that is on the box and never exceed the amount that your doctor tells you to take,” said Dr. Christine Alexander, the Interim Chair of Family Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center.

“Even the most benign medicine - or what seems to be the most benign medicine - when used in large doses or incorrectly, more frequently, can be dangerous,” said Dr. Alexander.

“It may seem to be an escape, but it’s not; it will only hurt you,” said Samantha, who said she’s speaking out to keep others from experimenting with Robotripping.

“When you try to chase the ultimate high, bad things happen.”

MacKay Jimeson, a spokesperson for Pfizer, released the following statement:

“Pfizer is committed to helping ensure the responsible use of our medicines, and Robitussin is safe and effective when used as directed. We are encouraged by this young woman’s choice to advocate against abuse of OTC dextromethorphan. Pfizer works proactively with organizations such as the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and Partnership at Drugfree.org on efforts to educate both parents and teens including ‘Stop Medicine Abuse’ and  ‘DXM Stories,’ on the risks of this behavior and we include a prominent educational icon on packaging of our dextromethorphan-containing products that directs to resources for parents. In addition, we have been working closely with CHPA and lawmakers in an effort to pass a federal law that would require purchasers to be age 18 or older and to place a ban on raw, unfinished bulk dextromethorphan.”

Melissa Hodge, Samantha’s mother, also applauds her daughter for trying to make a difference. “This, what we’re doing right here, is helping so much because I just want other parents to be aware and know the signs.”

The signs include mood changes, depression and problems focusing.

“It scares me,” said Samantha. “I don’t wanna be like this forever. I don’t want to be like this any longer.”

Some states, including New York, already have laws in place that prohibit the sale of DXM-containing products to minors.


  • Calvin Smith

    This has been around since the 80’s, why is Fox8 just now picking this up? Did someone’s kid just discover this, it is like warning people that there is a new substance kids are using…it is called alcohol, you must watch our 10 o’clock segment to find out more…

    • Kevin

      technically its not warning kids, its telling them that there is a new drug for them to try. It’s up to the parents to get involved in their lives and maybe show them the difference between right and wrong and also to teach them some morals.

  • Kevin

    I can’t believe that some people and parents are oblivious to this drug / medicine.Its been out for a long time now. I remember 15 years ago when teens were doing this. Come on parents, take some time to spend with your kids and see whats going on in their lives.

  • Stephanie

    “Tripping” on cough medicine has been around for a long time… can’t believe it took people this long to catch on… I remember kids doing that back in the mid-90’s.

  • Brenda Lownsberry

    Ugh! People with serious issues are always messing things up for the honest people….I buy Robitussin when I have a cold with coughing; it works great, like the medicine it is. If they make this another one of those drugs we have to go to the pharmacy and stand in line for half an hour to buy, because so many people don’t think intelligently any more, I am going to be annoyed.

  • liz

    This is stupid, that dumb little girl took too much and probably took one containing other ingredients. Robo tripping can safely be done by intelligent adults looking for the safest most spiritual trip.

  • Concerned Mother

    I dont see the problem with this? I buy it for my kids and their friends every weekend. As long as you tell them what could happen your okay. I only allow one bottle per kid. Its not this bad people settle down!

    • marie

      Hahahaha wow…. This is exactally why things are the way they are today. What ever happened to playing games when your childs friends come over?? ya know. hide and seek, boy talk, girl talk, movies, make up your own dance… it’s bad enough todays youth can survive an hour without a cell phone but now there are parents like you out here supplying this stuff to kids… why not just be the local drug dealer. no difference really. you’re still ruining people lives and enabeling them.. the only difference is you’re not getting paid for it… completely unbelieveable… you should be a proud “concerned mother”….

  • Tyler Durden

    People have not been doing it since the 80’s its been around since the 70’s. Educate yourself before you talk about things you don’t fully comprehend. Fear drives people to do crazy things.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.