House bill aims to curb teen abuse of cough medicine
A bipartisan bill, recently introduced in the House of Representatives, would help to combat the abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine among teenagers.
The “Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments Act of 2014,” also known as the “PACT Act,” would restrict the sale of OTC cough medicine containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to adults 18 years and older and require a prescription for individuals younger than 18. In addition, the legislation requires that only legitimate entities can purchase bulk DXM and they will have to register with FDA or state agencies.
“Millions of Americans use these cold medicines responsibly to gain relief from coughs and colds. However, these medicines are available at every supermarket, drugstore, and convenience store in the country giving teenagers access to purchase and abuse them,” said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), who introduced the legislation with Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) at the end of January.
“As a parent, I’m always focused on what we can do to protect Iowa’s children – and after researching this issue, it became clear that something needed to be done,” Braley said in a press release.
DXM abuse among teens has been reported in 2013 at a rate of one in 20 teens in grades 8 through 12, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In Iowa, one in 20 teens have abused OTC medicines, according to Bradley.
The PACT Act is the House companion legislation to the Senate’s bill that was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) last March.