National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month Kicks Off Today

CADCA, CHPA team up to fight teen abuse of over-the-counter cough medicines

Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2014) – One in 25 teens abuses over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) are kicking off their National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month today to spread awareness about this problem.

Every October, CADCA urges its membership to plan and promote an educational event – such as town hall meetings for parents, youth, and local advocates – to educate communities on the potential dangers associated with both prescription and OTC medicine abuse and to discuss prevention, intervention strategies, and treatment.

“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.”

CADCA is a partner of CHPA’s Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, which works to inform parents of teen abuse of OTC medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM), which some people – primarily teens – abuse in excessive amounts in pursuit of a high.   The campaign encourages parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of medicine abuse, to safeguard their medicines, and spread the word in their communities.

“Last year, the annual Monitoring the Future study reported a decrease in the percent of teens who abuse OTC cough medicine, and we know that the  work being done in communities by CADCA coalitions played a major role in that progress,”  CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said.  “We are proud to continue partnering with CADCA to reach more parents about OTC cough medicine abuse and to mobilize them to action.”

This year, the groups are also promoting an online engagement campaign ( to help spread the word about medicine abuse by mobilizing parents to post photos showcasing their words of affirmation to their teens and encouragement to other parents.

“As a father of teens, I have seen how giving teens positive reinforcement boosts their self-esteem and helps them to make smart choices,” Melville said, “I’m excited by this campaign and hope it will rally parents around celebrating the good in their teens while also mobilizing them to discuss some of the tough issues their teens may be facing such as pressure to abuse drugs, alcohol or OTC medicine.”

Contact Jenni Terry 202.429.9260 or Natalia Martinez Duncan 703.706.0560 ext.256

About CHPA’s StopMedicineAbuse 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 legislators.
  • 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 The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-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.

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.