Governor signs bill banning cough-medicine sales to minors

SALEM, Ore. - To combat teen abuse of over-the-counter medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM), Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation Thursday prohibiting the sale of DXM-containing products to minors.

“Oregon is now the 14th state to pass an age-18 sales law, joining states across the country in recognizing that limiting teen access to DXM is a proven way to prevent abuse,” Consumer Healthcare Products Association president and CEO Scott Melville said. “CHPA thanks Governor Brown for signing this important bill into law.”

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2016 National Institute on Drug Abuse annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuse OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.

“Public policy and education are both vitally important to combating teen OTC cough medicine abuse,” said Melville. “This is why CHPA has long supported state efforts to limit teen access to DXM and has worked to increase parental awareness through its campaign.

"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.”

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, and most recently Nevada, have all signed similar laws.

To learn more about the side effects of DXM abuse and access toolkits, brochures and other educational materials for parents and community leaders, visit

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 136-year-old national 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 empowering self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.

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