New Colorado Law Prohibits Sale of OTC Cough Medicine to Minors

Share page:

Press Releases and Statements | Aug 10, 2018

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)  — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) applauds Colorado for enacting a law prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors this week. HB 1307 was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on May 11, 2018.

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.

“Colorado is 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,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville. “This is a common-sense law, that restricts access to teens who may abuse these products, while maintaining access for the millions of Americans who use them responsibly. Committed Colorado state lawmakers have been crucial allies in our abuse prevention efforts, and we thank them for their hard work.”

CHPA has long supported national educational efforts to curb teen OTC cough medicine abuse through its education campaign, which includes collaborations with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). 

Recognizing that retailers play a critical role in abuse prevention, last year, CHPA announced a new initiative to support retailers in states that have adopted laws prohibiting the sale OTC cough medicine containing DXM to minors. Retailers can download or order free materials on the Stop Medicine Abuse website. 

For more information about teen DXM abuse and other helpful resources for parents and community leaders, please visit

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.