New Nevada Law Prohibits Sale of OTC Cough Medicine to Minors

Industry group provides free education materials for retailers as law goes into effect this month
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(WASHINGTON, D.C) — Today, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) announced a new initiative to support retailers in states that have adopted laws prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. The announcement comes on the heels of Nevada’s enactment of a DXM age-restriction law last week.

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2016 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.

“The OTC industry supports these types of laws, and over the years we’ve learned that a combination of public policy and public education is effective at combating teen abuse of OTC cough medicine,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville. “Committed state lawmakers such as Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley and retailers across the country have been crucial allies in our abuse prevention efforts.”

In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit sales of DXM-containing products to minors. Since then, governors from Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon have all signed similar laws.

“Retailers are essential to the effective implementation of DXM age-restriction laws,” continued Melville. “We hope that our new suite of retailer educational materials will improve retail employees’ understanding of the new law, how to enforce it, and strengthen their sense of responsibility to uphold the age-restriction in their stores.”

As part of the initiative, a new Pharmacists & Retailers page has been added to CHPA’s existing website – a long established website and campaign aimed at engaging parents and community leaders about teen abuse of OTC cough medicine. On the new page, retailers can download or order free materials, including:

  • Fact Sheet with background on OTC cough medicine abuse, a check list to determine whether a product contains DXM and when to ask for customer identification, as well as a brief list of frequently asked questions.
  • Informational Poster that can be used in employee break rooms.
  • Register Reminder Stickers to provide employees with an easy checklist for reference during checkout.
  • State-Specific Consumer Handouts (Tear Pad) to share with consumers who purchase products containing DXM to educate them about the sales restriction. The small handouts come in the form of a tear pad for all 14 states where age-restriction legislation has passed (California, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon).

“The new law aims to decrease abuse of these medicines by minors, without limiting access for legitimate consumers,” said Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley, sponsor of S.B. 159. “Imposing an age requirement on the sale and purchase of DXM has proven to be effective in other states and I’m proud that Nevada has taken action to protect the health and safety of our youth.”

Please visit for more information about teen DXM abuse, the retailer education materials, and other helpful resources for parents and community leaders.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. CHPA is committed to empowering self-care by ensuring that Americans have access to products they can count on to be reliable, affordable, and convenient, while also delivering new and better ways to get and stay healthy. Visit