National Survey Shows Teen Abuse of OTC Cough Medicine Remains at All-Time Low

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The results of the 2016 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and
University of Michigan’s Monitoring
the Future survey
released today shows the
percentage of teens using over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine

containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to get high remains at 3 percent. When
first reported by Monitoring the Future in 2006, teen OTC cough medicine
abuse was at just under 6 percent.

“The results of this year’s Monitoring the Future survey demonstrate
that prevention through education works,” Consumer Healthcare Products
Association (CHPA) President and CEO Scott Melville said. “There is no
silver bullet to preventing DXM abuse, but abuse rates are down. This
tells us that our approach of collaborating with parents, community
leaders, and elected officials to reach teens directly is working.”

CHPA works to reduce teen DXM abuse by following three strategies:
increase parent engagement, heighten teen perception of risk and social
disapproval, and limit teen access to DXM.

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.

“We’re very encouraged to see teen misuse of over-the-counter cough and
cold medications remaining at extremely low levels,” said Sean Clarkin,
executive vice president, research and external relations, Partnership
for Drug-Free Kids. “Prevention efforts enlisting parents as well as
retailers, and reaching teens with engaging and effective messaging,
appear to be having an impact.”

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 this
year thanks to CHPA’s active engagement. CHPA strongly advocates for
passage of national bipartisan legislation, the DXM Abuse Prevention
(DAP) Act of 2015 (S. 2994, H.R. 3250). CHPA believes the bill is one
way to limit teen access to the medicines and is an important part of
prevention along with educating teens about the risks and mobilizing
parents to talk to their teens and safeguard the medicines in their

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the
135-year-old 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 promoting the increasingly vital
role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s
healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy. Visit
for more information.


Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
, 202-429-9260