Wisconsin becomes 15th state to restrict DXM sales

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Wisconsin becomes 15th state to restrict DXM sales

By Michael Johnsen - 03/30/2018
Wisconsin on Wednesday became the 15th state to restrict the sale of cough/cold products containing DXM (dextromethorphan), a cough medicine that has the potential to be abused, especially among teenagers.

Teenagers younger than 18 would need a prescription to purchase a product containing DXM, the new law states.

Authored by Wis. Sen.Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and Wis. Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law Wednesday.

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

“The Consumer Healthcare Products Association thanks Gov. Walker for signing this important bill into law as well as Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Kremer for their leadership and commitment to passing legislation aimed at addressing the issue of teen OTC cough medicine abuse,” Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, said.

In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit sales to minors. Since then, governors from Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, and now Wisconsin, have all signed similar laws.

“The two most important tools in combating teen OTC cough medicine abuse are public policy efforts and education,” said Melville. “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.”

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 its StopMedicineAbuse.org campaign. As part of the 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.