CHPA Applauds the Progress of the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act

Bill would target online predators for selling raw dextromethorphan to kids as a means to get high

Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2009)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) officially gave support to H.R. 1259, the “Dextromethorphan Distribution Act,” introduced this week in the U.S. Congress by U.S. Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). The bill, passed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce today, seeks to allow the sale of raw dextromethorphan, an active ingredient commonly found in its finished form in over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines, only to legitimate entities registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or state agencies. This bill comes after a number of instances of teenagers purchasing the potent raw ingredient online and abusing it with tragic consequences.

“CHPA commends Congressmen Upton and Larsen on the leadership they have shown on this important issue,” said Linda A. Suydam, president of CHPA. As the trade association representing the nation’s OTC cough medicine makers, CHPA has long supported keeping the raw, unfinished form of dextromethorphan out of teenagers’ hands. “Only manufacturers, pharmacists, and researchers have a legitimate need for access to this ingredient in its unfinished form, and we offer our complete support to this federal measure. We believe that it will help protect America’s youth from unscrupulous online pushers who knowingly provide kids with the raw form of this ingredient as a means to get high.”

This is the third time the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice, but failed to move forward before the close of both the 109th and 110th Congresses.  “We fervently hope that the third time’s the charm for this important measure to get passed into law and start protecting our nation’s children,” opined Suydam. 

“CHPA’s support for this legislation is one part of a comprehensive approach to preventing the abuse of dextromethorphan in any form,” said Suydam. The association’s integrated initiative is housed at CHPA, together with such groups as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and D.A.R.E. America, is engaged in a long-term effort to raise parental awareness about the substance abuse problem of teens abusing OTC cough medicines. “We have seen progress already as a result of our efforts. Two preeminent teen surveys released over the last three months show either a slight decline in abuse rates or rates that have remained flat. That news encourages us and tells us that we are making a difference through our education efforts, but we have more work to do.”

Editor’s note:  CHPA’s initiatives to stop cough medicine abuse by teens are available at

Contact: Mimi Pappas, 202.429.9260

CHPA is the 128-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplement products.