CHPA Applauds Wisconsin Lawmakers for Age-18 Sales Law on Cough Medicine

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 681 into law. The legislation, authored by Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Representative Jesse Kremer (R - Kewaskum), prohibits the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. 

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2017 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 Consumer Healthcare Products Association thanks Governor Walker for signing this important bill into law as well as Senator Stroebel and Representative Kremer for their leadership and commitment to passing legislation aimed at addressing the issue of teen OTC cough medicine abuse,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville “Wisconsin is now the 15th state to pass an age-18 sales law, joining states across the country in recognizing that limiting teen access to DXM is a proven way to prevent abuse.”  

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

“The two most important tools in combating teen OTC cough medicine abuse are public policy efforts and education,” said Melville. “We are confident that this new law will help raise awareness about the issue with parents, while ensuring access for the millions of families who responsibly use products containing DXM to treat common cough symptoms.”

CHPA has long supported state efforts to limit teen access to DXM and has worked to increase parental and community awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse through its campaign. As part of the campaign, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative in 2017, providing educational materials to retailers in states with age-restriction laws to improve retail employees’ understanding of the new law and how to enforce it.

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

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