Statement from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on the SAMHSA Findings on Cough Medicine Abuse

Washington, D.C. (January 9, 2008)—Following is a statement by Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), regarding today’s release of the U.S. Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Association’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey, which reported data on the prevalence of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse among 12- to 25-year-olds in 2006:

"SAMHSA’s annual study provides some valuable insight for parents and healthcare professionals to better understand teen behaviors, and we commend the survey authors for examining the troubling trend of young people abusing medicines to get high. The leading makers of OTC cough medicines are working tirelessly to raise awareness about cough medicine abuse and welcome these data to help inform adults about this dangerous behavior.

"These results—as well as recent national survey results from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s Monitoring the Future survey—are evidence of the importance of the education efforts of many, including CHPA members.

"The nation’s medicine makers are committed to providing educational programming about medicine abuse in the schools, at retail, within law enforcement, in the community, and online. And we’ve worked with lawmakers to advance legislation to prohibit the sale of the raw form of the active ingredient in cough medicines, dextromethorphan, to minors. But our job is far from over.

"CHPA and the makers of over-the-counter cough medicines remain dedicated to building on the successes of our multi-year educational campaign and are looking forward to the new programming 2008 will bring with our partners, including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Parent Teacher Association, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, D.A.R.E. America, and the online Five Moms campaign.

"Our goal is to make sure parents are aware of this type of abuse and most importantly, are talking to their kids about the risks involved with abusing cough medicine. Some helpful tips parents should always keep in mind regarding medicine abuse:

  1. Educate themselves about the problem of medicine abuse.
  2. Talk to their teens about all types of drug abuse, including cough medicine abuse.
  3. Safeguard and take a regular inventory of home medicine cabinets.
  4. Monitor their teen’s Internet use.
  5. Seek professional help if they think their child has a substance abuse problem.

"We look forward to expanding our educational campaigns and will work to ensure that parents have the tools they need to be educated about the dangers surrounding medicine abuse."

Contact: Elizabeth Funderburk, 202.429.9260 (w) 202.256.5677 (m)


CHPA is the 127-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements.