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CHPA Applauds Introduction of Legislation in Washington Restricting Sales of Medicines Containing Dextromethorphan
[January 10, 2014]

CHPA Applauds Introduction of Legislation in Washington Restricting Sales of Medicines Containing Dextromethorphan

WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) applauds the introduction of legislation by Washington State Rep. Paul Harris that would prohibit pharmacies or retail distributors from selling over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to those under 18 without a prescription. CHPA says the bill, H.B. 2163, is a step toward preventing teen abuse of the medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM). The 2013 Monitoring the Future survey found that 4 percent of teens abuse medicines containing DXM to get high.

"The manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines are grateful to Rep. Harris for his leadership on this issue," said Carlos Gutierrez, CHPA's senior director and head of state government affairs. "The passage of similar legislation in California and New York indicate the growing support in our country for this measure, which gives parents a tool to prevent their teens from abusing cough medicine. While there is no one solution to this problem, restricting access is an important part of prevention along with encouraging parents to talk to their teens about the risks and to safeguard the medicines in their home."

CHPA also supports a national age-18 sales restriction introduced in the U.S. Senate, the Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act of 2013 (S. 644).

"Over-the-counter cough medicine abuse raised my concerns because of the easy access teens have to the medicines," said Rep. Harris. "Prohibiting teens from purchasing these medicines on their own, without their parents' knowlede, is one way to deter teens from engaging in this behavior. "

For more information on teen OTC cough medicine abuse, go to

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America's healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.

About CHPA's Campaign

  • provides toolkits, brochures, and other materials at no cost to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse.
  •'s Five Moms initiative brings together five moms (a school nurse, an accountant, a police officer, an educator, and an author) from across the country to raise awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse among parents and to spur them to action - to educate themselves, to talk with their children, to safeguard their medicines, and to spread the word to other parents.
  • Through the Stop Medicine Abuse legislative action center, parents and other advocates who support a federal age-18 sales restriction of DXM can send a letter of support for the Prevent Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act.
  • CHPA member companies placed a "PARENTS: Learn About Teen Medicine Abuse -" icon on the packaging of DXM-containing cough medicines. The icon serves as a mini public service announcement for parents, making them aware of cough medicine abuse at the point-of-sale and point-of-use and directing them to resources.
  • CHPA collaborates with The Partnership at to target teens likely to abuse based on their online search activity and provide them accurate information about the consequences of this behavior. For more information, visit

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