CHPA shares success combating cough medicine abuse

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Tuesday posted a video outlining the association's efforts in combating abuse of cough/cold medicines.

And CHPA is having a measurable impact. According to the results of the 2016 National Institute on Drug Abuse and University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey released last month, the percentage of teens using over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan to get high remains at 3%. When first reported by Monitoring the Future in 2006, teen OTC cough medicine abuse was at just under 6%.

"CHPA and our industry first became aware of abuse of dextromethorphan, a common cough medicine ingredient, back in 2006," opens Scott Melville, president and CEO CHPA. "We decided we needed to act."

Since, CHPA has developed a three-prong strategy in combating the issue, which includes connecting to parents and teens on awareness efforts and galvanizing the industry to restrict the sale of products containing DXM to adults over the age of 18.  

In 2009, 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

Additionally, CHPA collaborates with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to target teens likely to abuse DXM based on their online search activity and provide them accurate information about the consequences of this behavior. Teens are directed to visit to learn more.

To help restrict teen access to DXM, CHPA supported the passage of state laws prohibiting the sale of medicines containing DXM to those under 18.  Currently 12 states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, have all passed this legislation, three of which passed last year thanks to CHPA’s active engagement.

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