Makers of OTC Medicines Applaud Congressional Effort to Raise Awareness About Medication Abuse

Hearing dovetails Association's call to action to effectively address medicine abuse

Washington, D.C. (July 26, 2006)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) was pleased to lend its support today to recent efforts by the U.S. Congress to learn more about ways to effectively address the problem of medicine abuse. At a hearing today before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, elected officials called upon a broad panel of expert speakers to present various viewpoints on both the scope of the problem and efforts underway to address the recent trend of medicine abuse among teens.

Among the distinguished speakers at the hearing was Stephen J. Pasierb, president and CEO, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, who highlighted CHPA’s most recent efforts to proactively address the abuse of over-the-counter medicines. This national public awareness campaign—the Rx and OTC Medicine Abuse Education Campaign—hopes to build awareness about prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse through a comprehensive, multi-media communications effort that speaks directly to parents.

"It’s important that parents understand that their children may be abusing the very medicines that we use to safely and effectively treat common everyday ailments by taking exceedingly higher doses than what is recommended for treatment," stated CHPA President Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A. "The goal of the OTC medicine makers in supporting this campaign is to make parents more aware and encourage them to talk to their kids so we can put a stop to this abuse.”

In addition to this media effort, CHPA is aggressively promoting and encouraging legislative support for H.R. 5280, the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act of 2006. This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Congressmen Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), seeks to cut off the supply of pure dextromethorphan to those individuals who are misusing it to get high or who intend to sell it as a street drug.

“We all know that medicine is important and serves a critical public health need,” stated Suydam. “CHPA and its member companies are in the business of improving people’s health and quality of life. Educating parents about the potential abuse of our medicines is part of that mission.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of CHPA’s statement to the subcommittee is attached. Additionally, information on the Partnership and CHPA’s national Rx and OTC Medicine Abuse Education Campaign can be found on CHPA’s web site.

Contacts: Elizabeth Assey and Virginia Cox,202.429-9260

CHPA is the 125-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplement products.