CHPA Applauds Senate Resolution Designating October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2011)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is lending support for a U.S. Senate initiative calling for increased attention and awareness of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine abuse among teens. Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), S. Res. 261 designates October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month and urges communities to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse, including the intentional abuse of OTC cough medicine.

“CHPA applauds the Senate for introducing this important resolution and designating October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Through decades of drug abuse prevention research, we know that teen cough medicine abuse can be best addressed through education and raising awareness among parents and teens about the risks of and prevalence of abuse of  medicines. The leading makers of OTC cough medicines and our partners will continue to inform parents and strive toward raising awareness. We hope that this resolution will spark a national dialogue about prevention and lead to meaningful legislative changes in the year to come, including a federal ban on sales of OTC cough medicines to teens under the age of 18 and a federal restriction against the sale of the raw, unfinished form of dextromethorphan to anyone other than an entity registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” said CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville.

According to the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey, considered the preeminent national study on teen substance abuse, five percent of teens have abused over-the-counter cough medicines—sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose—containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. When used correctly, dextromethorphan-containing medicines have a 50-year history of being safe and effective. But when abused in extreme excess, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs.

CHPA is involved in a multi-tiered effort to curb the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan including:

  • A campaign  with the Partnership at Drugfree.org to educate parents and provide teens with peer-to-peer testimonials on DXMstories.com;
  • An educational toolkit with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America to engage communities throughout the country to help raise awareness about this form of substance abuse behavior;
  • Curricula for 5th, 7th, and 9th graders and parents with DARE America;
  • A Home to Homeroom campaign with National Association of School Nurses reaching an estimated 1.4 million students  nationwide;
  • A collaborative educational destination with WebMD to bring information to parents; and
  • The online Five Moms campaign to help parents know what to look for and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets. The site has reached over 35 million parents to date (since 2007).

To view these materials or to learn more about all CHPA’s activities and partnerships to help curb prescription and OTC cough medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

Contact: Elizabeth Funderburk, 202.429.9260


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