Colorado Becomes the 16th State to Sign Age-18 Sales Law on Cough Medicine

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Press Releases and Statements | May 14, 2018

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — On Friday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law HB 1307, legislation prohibiting 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.

“CHPA thanks Governor Hickenlooper for signing this important bill,” said Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) President and CEO Scott Melville. “Colorado is now the 16th 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. State lawmakers are crucial allies in prevention efforts and we thank Colorado State lawmakers – Senators Gardner and Cooke as well as State Representatives Singer and Lee – for their commitment to this issue.” 

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, Oregon, and Wisconsin have all signed similar laws.

“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 our Stop Medicine Abuse campaign,” 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.” 

As part of the Stop Medicine Abuse 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 and other helpful resources for parents and community members.

Founded in 1881, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system more than $7, contributing a total of $146 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.