CHPA Supports Efforts to Raise Awareness on Teen Substance Abuse

Remains vigilant in its fight to ensure that OTC medicines are taken appropriately and responsibly

Washington, D.C. (April 21, 2005)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) today echoed the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s call for increased parental awareness about the intentional abuse of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines among teenagers. In announcing the results from its Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), an annual national study of teen drug abuse trends, the Partnership released new research on teenage drug abuse, showing an emerging trend among teens to abuse prescription drugs and OTC cough medicine.

“Substance abuse continues to be a huge problem in this country and now important and beneficial medicines are being abused to get high,” said CHPA President Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A. “This new data from the Partnership underscores the need for increased parental involvement and expanded educational programs on the issue of medicine abuse.” CHPA and the Partnership joined forces to raise parental awareness about the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) two years ago and are expanding the initiative in 2005. “CHPA is committed to addressing the problem of cough medicine abuse in a targeted, proven, and comprehensive way,” said Suydam.

In 2005, the CHPA/Partnership educational campaign will grow to include materials for adults in both English and Spanish, expanded utilization of the Internet and media to communicate information, more intensive retailer and pharmacist involvement, and partnerships with medical organizations.

"As adults, we need to be aggressive about cough medicine abuse,” asserted Suydam. “OTC medicines are serious medications; while safe and effective when used according to label directions, like all medicines, they can be harmful if abused.” CHPA recommends that parents talk with their teens about drug use. Regarding DXM abuse specifically, the Association advises parents to monitor their children’s Internet usage for pro-drug web sites, be on the look-out for missing or empty medicine containers, and pay attention to any unusual chemical or medicinal smells in a teen’s room or person. For more information about cough medicine abuse or to request a free brochure, visit CHPA’s web site at www.chpa-info.org or the Partnership’s site at http://www.drugfree.org/parent/resources/cough_medicine_abuse.

Contacts: Elizabeth Assey and Virginia Cox, 202.429.9260


CHPA is the 124-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplement products.