Unusual Household Highs

When most people think of drug and alcohol abuse, they may picture a homeless person with a liquor bottle, someone buying heroin on a street corner, or someone searching a medicine cabinet for a prescription benzodiazepine. They don’t often think of the cough syrup in the house or even the hand sanitizer that we see everywhere as a way to get high. These items require nothing more than walking into a store to purchase, yet they can be a gateway for some, especially teenagers, to begin abusing drugs or alcohol.
The ugly truth is that anyone can get high off of items in their houses in ways most people wouldn’t dream of.
While these methods generally start with teenagers, anyone is susceptible to using them. Here’s a look at some of these unusual household highs.

Cough Syrup (DXM)

There are many reasons that cough syrup is often locked up when you go to the drug store or the grocery store: It can be used to get someone high. It may seem strange to you, but it’s still true. Most cough syrups come with a component known as DXM or Dextromethorphan. A person can learn how to extract the DXM from the cough syrup or drink the syrup directly. This can result in a quick and dangerous high, often called robotripping, which can be enhanced if someone uses DXM in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol.

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This type of high can be different from others, causing users to feel disassociated from their bodies. Such a high is dangerous and can potentially be deadly. It can also induce a wide array of negative symptoms, including nausea, panic attacks, accelerated heart rate, and more.


Whippets involve the inhalation of nitrous oxide gasses. Examples include whipped-cream chargers or mechanisms that are found in certain types of car engines. Quick, sharp inhalation of these types of mechanisms can result in a high. It’s a relatively brief high, but it can result in intoxication nonetheless.

Of course, it is much more dangerous than that. Inhaling anything other than normal oxygen can result in vomiting, a loss of consciousness, coma, or death. Indeed, it has killed people under certain circumstances.

These are often seen as a relatively innocuous form of drug use, roughly equivalent to inhaling helium from a balloon. However, this can be extremely dangerous. If someone is actively and repeatedly seeking out whippets, they should receive help immediately.

Hand Sanitizer

Thanks to COVID-19, hand sanitizer has become more popular and used than ever before. Unfortunately, its uses are not entirely confined to hygiene and removing germs. Some individuals use hand sanitizer to get intoxicated. This is done by either huffing or drinking the hand sanitizer, and it results in intoxication because it contains relatively large amounts of pure alcohol.

Of course, hand sanitizer has much more than alcohol in it, and inhaling or consuming these substances can be extremely dangerous and result in significant stomach problems and the need for immediate medical care. Getting high in such a way is a clear indicator that someone may need immediate addiction treatment.

Alcohol Tampon

Yes, this sounds exceptionally strange. There are some reports of individuals using tampons soaked in alcohol. It is also known as “slimming.” It is also not just limited to women: Some men will insert the tampons anally.

Why do some use this method of alcohol ingestion? First, it is easy to do and can be hidden. This could allow individuals to become intoxicated in any circumstance, including at school or in public, and be able to test negative for alcohol on a breathalyzer. It may also allow for quicker absorption of the alcohol. As such, people who utilize this method can get drunk faster.

Of course, it is absurdly dangerous. Users have reported burning and potential injuries from using this method. Using such extreme measures to get drunk is considered an extremely dangerous behavior and may signify someone having an alcohol use disorder.

The Risks – Short Term & Long Term

There is no question: There is a direct connection between drug addiction and drug abuse among teenagers and adults. Many teenagers who use and seek these unusual highs and develop a substance use disorder will generally be diagnosed with a substance use disorder as an adult. Adults who are using these methods to get high may need to seek treatment for their substance abuse.
If you believe your loved one is addicted to substances, seek help from professionals immediately. Thankfully, there are an array of actions you can take that can ensure that your loved one gets the support they need and deserve. Please reach out to us today for more information on our services and how we can set your or a loved one on the path to recovery.

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