Leading Makers of OTC Medicines and CADCA Commend the U.S. Senate on National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month Initiative

Nationwide town hall meetings part of education effort

Washington, D.C. (September 24, 2009)—The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) are pleased to lend their support to a U.S. Senate initiative calling for increased attention and awareness of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse among teens.  Sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.), Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), S. Res. 263 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.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in 10 teens reports having abused cough medicine to get high with some teens intentionally take excessive amounts—sometimes up to 50 times the recommended dose—to get “high” from the active ingredient dextromethorphan. 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.

“I applaud Senators Grassley, Durbin, Feinstein, Whitehouse, and Schumer for introducing this important resolution. By designating October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, it will help raise awareness of the alarming numbers of young people who currently abuse prescription and OTC cough medicines. Hopefully, this will spur a dialogue on this issue in communities across the country,” said Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA Chairman and CEO.

In May 2009, The Partnership/Metlife Parents Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) indicated that more parents are talking to their teen about the dangers of using OTC cough and cold medicine to get high. Additionally, in February 2009, the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey , a national study of teen behavior and attitudes about drugs and alcohol, showed that an increased number of teens view the intentional abuse of OTC cough medicines as risky.

“While we are pleased with our progress, raising awareness about the abuse of cough medicine remains a top priority for us. Continued support from the U.S. Senate coupled with our educational initiatives will help us in our efforts to stop medicine abuse,” said Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president, CHPA.

As a part of this effort, CHPA and CADCA are hosting town hall meetings nationwide during October.  Localities interested in hosting their own town hall or to learn more about all of CHPA’s activities to help curb cough medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

About the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
CHPA, founded in 1881, is a member-based association representing the leading manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and nutritional supplements. Many CHPA member products provide millions of Americans with safe, effective, and convenient therapies for the treatment and prevention of many common ailments and diseases. To learn more about CHPA, visit chpa-info.org.

About the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
CADCA is the national membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. CADCA’s mission is to build and strengthen the capacity of community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences, and special events. For more information about CADCA, visit cadca.org.

Contact: Elizabeth Funderburk, 202.429.9260 (work) | 202.256.5677 (mobile) 

CHPA is the 128-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements.