Colorado becomes 16th state to mandate DXM age restriction

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Colorado becomes 16th state to mandate DXM age restriction

By Michael Johnsen - 05/14/2018
Colorado on Friday became the 16th state to place an age restriction on the purchase of the OTC cough suppressant dextromethorphan.

Restricting the sale of DXM-containing products to adults over the age of 18 is supported by industry, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, in an effort to reduce teenage abuse of the cold remedies. “Colorado [joins] states across the country in recognizing that limiting teen access to DXM is a proven way to prevent abuse," Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, said. "State lawmakers are crucial allies in prevention efforts and we thank Colorado State lawmakers – Sens. Bob Gardner (R, El Paso) and John Cooke (R, Weld) as well as Reps. Jonathan Singer (D, Boulder) and Pete Lee (D, El Paso) – for their commitment to this issue.”

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high, CHPA reported.

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 and Wisconsin have all signed similar laws.

“CHPA has long supported state efforts to limit teen access to DXM and has worked to increase parental and community awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse through our Stop Medicine Abuse campaign,” Melville said. “We are confident that 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.”

As part of the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative in 2017, providing educational materials to retailers in states with age-restriction laws to improve retail employees’ understanding of the new law and how to enforce it.