Michigan Becomes 20th State to Adopt Age-18 Sales Law on Cough Medicine

More than 60 percent of U.S. population will now be covered by laws aimed at decreasing teen cough medicine abuse
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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed HB 4412, legislation to combat teen abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) by prohibiting the sale of DXM-containing products to minors without a prescription. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2020.

“Michigan is now the 20th 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 Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) President and CEO Scott Melville. “Coming on the heels of Texas Governor Greg Abbott signing similar legislation, Governor Whitmer’s action demonstrates that addressing teen substance abuse is an issue that spans regions and crosses political parties, bringing together bipartisan lawmakers as well as advocates and industry who all share the same concern: protecting teens from risky behavior. CHPA applauds Governor Whitmer for signing this important bill into law as well as Representative Bronna Kahle for her leadership on this issue.” 

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2018 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.

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, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Texas have all signed similar laws.

“Smart public policy and education are both vitally important to combating teen OTC cough medicine abuse,” continued Melville. “This is why CHPA has long supported state efforts to limit teen access to DXM and has worked to increase parental awareness through its StopMedicineAbuse.org campaign. 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.”

“Because Michigan retailers and pharmacies will now be required to check identification before selling DXM-containing medicine to consumers, retailers are essential to the effective implementation of DXM age-restriction laws,” said Melville. 

Recognizing the important role that retailers plan in the effective implementation of state DXM age-restriction laws, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative as part of its Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, aimed at engaging parents and community members about teen abuse of OTC cough medicine. Retailers can download or order free materials for employees and consumers.

Please visit StopMedicineAbuse.org for more information about teen DXM abuse 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 www.chpa.org.