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New Legislation to Prevent Cough Medicine Abuse Introduced in Senate

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U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) this week introduced new bipartisan legislation to prevent the abuse of cough syrup to get high, a particularly worrisome trend among American teens.

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines and is safe when taken as recommended, but 5 percent of teenagers report having intentionally taken large doses of DXM for effects that include hallucinations, confusion, blurred vision and loss of motor control.

Senator Casey’s Prevent Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act will make it harder for teens to purchase the drug for this dangerous use, while still keeping cough medications accessible to those who use them for their intended purpose.

Our President and CEO Steve Pasierb had this to say about the new initiative:

“This legislation is particularly important for parents as it will help ensure the medication is less available to kids tempted to experiment. It limits a key form of ready access teens have to cough medicine and to abusing the active ingredient DXM. In a parallel effort, we are working closely with CHPA on a digital and social media-based prevention initiative targeting those teens who are actively involved in searching online or chatting for information on how to abuse DXM. By taking a holistic, integrated approach, one that includes the importance of parent-to-teen communication about medicine abuse, stresses safeguarding medicines at home, limits children’s access at retail and employs innovative teen intervention strategies online, we can help curb teen abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine.”

Learn more about DXM here.

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