National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month Kicks Off

CADCA, CHPA team up to spread the word about teen over-the-counter cough medicine abuse

Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2013) –  One in 20 teens abuses over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high, and this month the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) are teaming up to spread awareness about this abuse among parents and communities in recognition  of the annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.

Every October, the organizations encourage communities to take part in helping to raise awareness about abuse of prescription medicine as well as OTC medicine containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM), which teens abuse in excessive amounts in pursuit of a high.  CADCA is a partner of CHPA’s Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, which works to inform parents of the behavior and encourages them to talk to their teens, safeguard their medicines, and spread the word in their communities.

“As the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization, CADCA is deeply concerned about the misuse and abuse of medicines – whether prescription or over-the-counter,” said Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA Chairman and CEO. “Too many young people are seeking out these substances as a means to get high without realizing the devastating impact medicine abuse can have on their lives. National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month will help educate families across America about the dangers of abusing medicines and spur communities into action.”

In preparation of the month, CADCA urges its membership to plan and promote an educational event – such as a town hall meeting for parents, youth, and community advocates – to educate them on the potential dangers associated with medicine abuse and to discuss prevention, intervention strategies, and treatment.  Additional suggestions for how coalitions can take part are found on CADCA’s website. During this month, the associations are also focused on increasing support for the passage of the Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act (S. 644) introduced by U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

“We are grateful to CADCA coalitions for being the boots on the ground and fighting this abuse on the community level, where a difference can be made one teen at a time,”  CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said.  “Thanks to the dedication of CADCA coalitions, communities across the country are reaching parents about OTC cough medicine abuse - a dangerous behavior that often flies under parents’ radar screens.”

Contact: Jenni Terry, 202.429.9260

About CHPA’s Campaign

  • provides toolkits, brochures, and other materials at no cost to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse. 
  •’s Five Moms initiative brings together five moms (a school nurse, an accountant, a police officer, an educator, and an author) from across the country to raise awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse among parents and to spur them to action – to educate themselves, to talk with their children, to safeguard their medicines, and to spread the word to other parents.
  • Through the Stop Medicine Abuse legislative action center, parents and other advocates who support a federal age-18 sales restriction of DXM can send a letter of support for the Prevent Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act (S. 644) to their U.S. senators.
  • CHPA member companies placed a “PARENTS: Learn About Teen Medicine Abuse – "” icon on the packaging of DXM-containing cough medicines.  The icon serves as a mini public service announcement for parents, making them aware of the issue of cough medicine abuse at the point-of-sale and point-of-use and directs them to where parents can access resources they need to more comfortably talk to their teen about the issue.
  • CHPA collaborates with The Partnership at to provide teens with accurate information about cough medicine abuse through its teen-oriented website,

CHPA is the 132-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.

CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is the national membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions and affiliates working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. CADCA's mission is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.