WASHINGTON--()--The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) today applauds U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D–PA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for continuing their efforts to help combat teen cough medicine abuse by reintroducing legislation that would prohibit the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to teens under the age of 18. The Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act (S. 644) was first introduced by the senators in the 112th Congress.
“We are working closely with CHPA on a digital and social media-based prevention effort targeting those teens who actively search online for information on how to abuse DXM”
DXM is a safe and effective cough suppressant found in more than 100 cough and cold medicines. While millions of Americans rely on these medicines to relieve cough and cold symptoms, the 2012 National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA’s) Monitoring the Future survey found that just under 5 percent of teens in grades 8 through 12 report abusing DXM-containing medicines by ingesting excessive amounts to get “high” – often 25 times or more the recommended dose.
“Our association works to raise national awareness about this troubling behavior, and we are grateful to Sens. Casey and Murkowski for championing this issue on Capitol Hill,” CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said. “An age restriction on the sale of dextromethorphan would give parents a tool to prevent abuse, as teens who report abusing DXM can easily purchase it themselves. We encourage all parents to monitor the medicines in their homes, to take notice if medicine goes missing, and to talk to their teens about the risks of abusing all medicines, including OTC cough medicine.”
CHPA, the trade association representing the makers of OTC medicines and dietary supplements, has long supported an age restriction as well as national educational efforts to curb teen OTC cough medicine abuse through its StopMedicineAbuse.org education campaign, which includes collaborations with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), National Association of School Nurses (NASN), D.A.R.E. America, WebMD, and others.
“This legislation is vital for families as it will help ensure that medicines are less available to kids who are tempted to experiment. It will help protect them, as it limits a key form of ready access that teens have to cough medicine and to abusing the active ingredient DXM,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
“We are working closely with CHPA on a digital and social media-based prevention effort targeting those teens who actively search online for information on how to abuse DXM,” Pasierb continued. “By embracing an integrated approach, one that underscores the importance of parent-to-teen communication about the risks of medicine abuse, stresses the need to safeguard medicines at home, limits children's access at retail points and employs innovative teen intervention strategies online, we can help curb teen abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine.”
The PACT Act also places limits on the purchase of bulk (unfinished) DXM, ensuring that only manufacturers registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or relevant state agencies have access to DXM in its raw form. Currently, there are no national sales or purchase restrictions for dextromethorphan in this form.
CHPA is the 132-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.
About CHPA’s StopMedicineAbuse.org Campaign
- StopMedicineAbuse.org provides toolkits, brochures, and other materials at no cost to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse.
- StopMedicineAbuse.org’s Five Moms initiative brings together five moms, a school nurse, an accountant, a police officer, an educator, and an author, from across the country to raise awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse among parents and to spur them to action – to educate themselves, to talk with their children, to safeguard their medicines, and to spread the word to other parents.
- CHPA member companies placed a “PARENTS: Learn About Teen Medicine Abuse – www.StopMedicine.Abuse.org” icon on the packaging of DXM-containing cough medicines. The icon serves as a mini public service announcement for parents, making them aware of the issue of cough medicine abuse at the point-of-sale and point-of-use and directs them to StopMedicineAbuse.org where parents can access resources they need to more comfortably talk to their teen about the issue.
- CHPA collaborates with The Partnership at Drugfree.org to provide teens with accurate information about cough medicine abuse through its teen-oriented website, DXMstories.org.