Think it’s just cough medicine? Think again. Cough and cold suppressants available at local pharmacies, supermarkets or convenience stores are safe and effective when used as directed. But some young people are drawn to an ingredient found in nearly half of these medications called dextromethorphan, or DXM. Local youngsters view DXM as a safe alternative to Ecstasy, since they can purchase it legally or take it from their home medicine cabinet. When taken in excessive doses, DXM can produce a high or cause psychoactive effects. A DXM overdose can be fatal. In October of 2002, a 22-year old Iowa State University student died in his dorm room after overdosing on DXM that he purchased over the Internet. His parents are suing the North Dakota company that sold and shipped him the drug, claiming the company knew it would be used as a recreational drug. Some Web sites encourage teenagers to abuse DXM and actually offer "recipes" for the best way to achieve a high. More than a hundred types of DXM preparations are available at local stores. It is in any medication whose name includes “DM” or “Tuss”. There are some signs parents can watch for to see if their children are misusing cough suppressants: They buy their own packages of cold/cough medicine They keep taking the preparations after cold symptoms are gone The family supply of cough medicine dwindles without explanation Bookmarked web sites about "Robo-tripping", DXM or "Lean".