Cough Medicine Makers Applaud Age Restrictions on Sales of Medicines Containing Dextromethorphan

See retail effort as key component to overall educational initiatives

Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2007)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents the leading makers of over-the-counter medicines, applauds recent actions taken by many major retailers to prevent children under age 18 from purchasing over-the-counter cough medicines that contain dextromethorphan. Recent studies have spotlighted cough medicine abuse as an alarming trend among young people who intentionally take large amounts of cough medicine to get "high" from the active ingredient dextromethorphan. CHPA has been working with the retail community to address this abuse and has been supportive of all retail efforts to impose age restrictions.

"While education is the most effective tool we have in preventing substance abuse, we feel these age restrictions will reinforce these efforts and help parents keep their kids safe," said Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of CHPA. "As the leading makers of these trusted, over-the-counter medicines, we also are working diligently to educate parents and community leaders about this problem and provide them with resources to combat this growing trend."

Last week, CHPA and its members launched its comprehensive, online Five Moms Campaign to drive parents to action: to educate themselves on substance abuse with medicines, to talk with their children about the risks of such abuse, and to spread the word to other parents. On the campaign’s web site, www.FiveMoms.com, five real-life moms from around the country share their experience and concern for the issue. Parents also can find up-to-date information on the site about cough medicine abuse and where to go for help, blog entries from the Five Moms, and a short video about cough medicine abuse that parents can forward to friends and family.

"When used correctly, dextromethorphan-containing medicines have a 50-year history of being safe and effective," Suydam added. "We are hopeful that our educational efforts to alert parents and communities as to the recent reports of cough medicine abuse, combined with the implementation of age restrictions on these medicines, will ensure our medicines are being used in a way that continues to benefit families."

Five Moms is part of a long-term effort on behalf of CHPA to educate the public about cough medicine abuse. Additionally, in the next several weeks, the leading makers of cough medicines will be launching a print advertisment campaign aimed at increasing awareness about the dangers of cough medicine abuse. CHPA has also joined the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America to create a host of English- and Spanish-language educational resources for parents and community leaders, including public service announcements, brochures, and web sites for parents and teens.

"Experts tell us that teens who learn about the risks of drug abuse from their parents are half as likely as their peers to abuse drugs," said Suydam. "CHPA and its members are taking steps to raise awareness about medicine abuse and give parents and other key influencers in teen lives the tools they need to stop this preventable problem."

Note: All of CHPA’s initiatives to stop cough medicine abuse by teens are summarized online.

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


CHPA is the 126-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements.