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Snurf Pills: A New Drug of Abuse for Teens

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 17th 2008

 What a cute name "snurf"is for a dangerous and deadly drug! What is even more outrageous about this drug is the way it is sold on the Internet. Adolescents are given the false information that this is a harmless herbal supplement. Nothing could be further from the truth. In September of this year, several High School students from Newton Mass. were hospitalized after having taken these pills.

Evidently, snurf pills contain the chemical cough suppressant found in cough syrups called Dextromethorphan. In the world of drug users this is referred to as DEX. Snurf pills create feelings of euphoria. According to one report from Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, one in ten students from grades 7 to 12 are using this drug.

Because teenagers believe that snurf is herbal and is not illegal they also believe that it is safe and within legal bounds, unlike marijuana and other substances.

Reminder to Parents:

Reports like this should remind parents to be aware of their children, how they are behaving and whether or not there are any radical changes in the ways they are acting.

In addition, it is very important to lock those medicine cabinets, dispose of any unused and unnecessary medicines, monitor where their children are going on the Internet and not let any medicines get into their hands, whether they are prescription or over the counter.

Talk to your children about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. In doing the "talking" also listen to what they have to say about it. Start having these conversations well before they get to Middle School and be ready to answer lots of questions they may ask.

Finally, this is another reason why it is so important for parents to be involved in the schools their children attend. Talking with teachers about how their children are performing is an important source of information. Again, any feedback that classroom behaviors are altered in negative ways is much needed to put parents on the alert.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD






Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

dex vs. DXM -- nomenclature - ona k. - Oct 21st 2009

"...cough syrups called Dextromethorphan. In the world of drug users this is referred to as DEX."

In my extensive experience among drug users in europe, in massachusetts and the east coast states, and california, as well as many forums online, dextromethorphan is referred to as DXM and not dex. dex might be used but usually requires clarification (especially among young people/students) because it is more often used to refer to dextroamphetamine, especially in the formulation Dexedrine. while one 'robotrips' (derived from Robitussin) on 'tussin' or 'dxm', one 'tweaks' or 'gets strung out' on 'dex'.



-ona k.

i did it - - Feb 15th 2009

knI dont know who's parents know about this but i did it and it got me no where. to this day it wonder what i was thinking. but i can say i wondered why i did it. it is because  my parents never could explain it to me so it tried it several times now i know why not to. it get me no where. i have a friend that done it so much that he is prementaly hospitlaiztied because of it and another in prison unitl she it 95 now tell me it is worth the high. Now i wish i  listened to my parents. But everytime u do it it is major hole in your brain. so think about what u what in life before u do it. many regrets. i can say. i did anything u can think of and this is the only thing i can think that crabs me everyda


"Herbal" and "safe" - a false equation - JR - Sep 18th 2008

Henbane, belladonna and hemlock are all perfectly "herbal" - but eating them is a Seriously Bad (and often Terminal) idea.  This is ancient knowledge, nothing new.  Even valerian - the active ingredient in a wide range of popular, non-prescription relaxant medicines - can kill one if enough is consumed - this was known in the time of the Druids.  But why beat up just on the exotic ?  Tobacco is just as "herbal" as they come.

When did popular culture ingest the dangerous notion that something that is "herbal" is, ipso facto, "safe" ?  After all, our ancestors of old have known that this is not necessarily the case, and have often employed "herbal" substances as poisons of choice.  Is this, perhaps, one of the less desirable aspects of the modern movement towards alternative medicine ?


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