CHPA Lauds Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature on Efforts to Address Teenage Cough Medicine Abuse

Law prohibits sale of OTC cold and cough medicine containing DXM to minors

Washington, D.C. (September 1, 2011)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) commends Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature on passage and enactment of SB 514.  The legislation, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), prohibits the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors, making California the first state to enact a sales restriction to minors.  DXM is a safe and effective ingredient found in more than 100 OTC cough and cold products.  While millions of Americans rely on DXM-containing medicines for relief from cough symptoms, some teens  abuse large amounts of cough medicine containing dextromethorphan – sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose – to get high.

“The makers of over-the-counter cough medicines never want to see products abused or misused in any way. We take very seriously our obligation to educate and raise awareness about cough medicine abuse among teens,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott M. Melville. “This unprecedented action by California lawmakers will help address medicine abuse and sets a high standard that we would ultimately like to see enacted nationwide.”

Aside from calling for a national age restriction on DXM-containing medicines, CHPA has been engaged in educational efforts to curb teen cough medicine abuse for a number of years, and introduced an educational icon on the packaging of DXM-containing cough medicines to alert parents to the potential for abuse. In 2009, CHPA launched StopMedicineAbuse.org to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse. Additionally, CHPA and its members are involved in a multi-pronged effort to curb the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing DXM with the help of a host of partners, including parent groups, education associations, health professional societies, law enforcement, the retail community, and pharmacists.

For more information on efforts to raise awareness, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

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


CHPA is the 130-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.