California bans sale of dextromethorphan to minors

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California on Wednesday banned the sale of dextromethorphan to minors, becoming the first state to pass such legislation.

The bill enjoyed the support of industry leaders, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “We take very seriously our obligation to educate and raise awareness about cough medicine abuse among teens,” CHPApresident and CEO Scott Melville said. “This unprecedented action by California lawmakers will help address medicine abuse and sets a high standard that we would ultimately like to see enacted nationwide.”

Dextromethorphan is a safe and effective ingredient found in more than 100 over-the-counter cough-cold products; however, some teens abuse large amounts of cough medicine containing dextromethorphan — sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose — to get high.

Aside from calling for a national age restriction on DXM-containing medicines, CHPA has been engaged in educational efforts to curb teen cough medicine abuse for a number of years, and introduced an educational icon on the packaging of DXM-containing cough medicines to alert parents to the potential for abuse. In 2009, CHPA launched to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse. Additionally, CHPA and its members are involved in a multi-pronged effort to curb the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing DXM with the help of a host of partners, including parent groups, education associations, health professional societies, law enforcement, the retail community and pharmacists.

For more information on efforts to raise awareness, visit

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