CHPA Applauds House Introduction of DXM Abuse Prevention Act

Bill would prohibit the sale of cough medicines containing the ingredient dextromethorphan to minors

Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2015) – The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is pleased to lend its strong support for the DXM Abuse Prevention Act of 2015 (H.R. 3250), introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Doris Matsui (D-CA).

The introduction of this bill marks an important bipartisan effort to prevent teen abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, commonly referred to as DXM. The bill would establish a national, age-18 requirement for the purchase of medicines containing DXM.

DXM is a safe and effective cough suppressant found in more than 100 cough and cold medicines. While millions of Americans rely on these medicines to relieve cough and cold symptoms, the 2014 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Monitoring the Future study, reported that one in 30 teens admits to abusing DXM to get high. Teens report taking 25 times or more of the recommended dose when abusing these medicines. Often referred to by the slang terms dexing, Robotripping, or Triple C’s, abuse of DXM leads to side effects including nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blurred vision, and disorientation.

“This bill will further allow parents to prevent abuse among teens, while continuing to ensure access for the millions of adults and families who responsibly use products containing DXM to relieve common cough symptoms,” CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said. “We are extremely thankful for the leadership from Reps. Johnson and Matsui and encourage the House to pass the bill.”

CHPA has long supported national educational efforts to curb teen OTC cough medicine abuse through its StopMedicineAbuse.org education campaign, which includes collaborations with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), National Association of School Nurses (NASN), D.A.R.E. America, WebMD, and others. StopMedicineAbuse.org provides toolkits, brochures, and other materials at no cost to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse.

The bill also has support from community stakeholders of DXM abuse, including;

  • American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
  • International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)
  • National Alliance for Hispanic Health
  • National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)
  • National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
  • National Consumers League
  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
  • Safe Kids Worldwide

Gen. Arthur Dean, Chairman and CEO of CADCA said, “CADCA is strongly supportive of the DXM Abuse Prevention Act, which would prohibit the sale of products containing dextromethorphan to those under the age of 18. CADCA and its 5,000 coalition members nationwide have been on the front lines of addressing prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse, including the misuse and abuse of dextromethorphan, for more than 13 years. We need to make sure that all kids in every community have the ability to live healthy, drug-free lives, and this bill is a major step in achieving that.”

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The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 134-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.

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Contact: Jenni Roberson  (202) 429-9260