I-Team 10: Minors and cold medicines

Posted at: 09/27/2013 4:51 PM
Updated at: 09/27/2013 9:04 PM
By: Brett Davidsen

When it comes to cough and cold remedies, if you're under the age of 18, you soon won't be able to buy them. The governor signed legislation that would prohibit the sale of medications to minors that contain DXM.

DXM is dextromethorphan, which is an ingredient that is in many cough and cold medicines like Robitussin or Coricidin cough and cold tablets. But it's also a medicine experts warn is being abused more and more especially among young people.

In more stores, you'll find the medications right on the shelves available to anyone. That is why experts believe kids are abusing them because they are easily accessible. When the medications are taken in large quantities, they can mimic the effects of cocaine. According to published reports, about five percent of teenagers report having intentionally taken large amounts of the drugs for a recreational high.

In January, legislators introduced a bill that would ban the sale to minors with stores facing a $250 dollar fine if they violate the law. 

Charles Arnell, parent of teenager, said, "I think it's an idea that has to happen. Unfortunately, the way things are going, we have to make sure we protect our kids from themselves sometimes."

Allie Arnell, teenager, said, “That's ridiculous that stupid people have to ruin it for everybody else.”

Assemblyman Mark Johns, 135th Assembly District, said, “It's unfortunate, but there's a lot of drugs over the counter that are the most abused drugs we have out there. People think that they're doing this for fun, but it's also putting chemicals into your body at that type of level is not good."

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association has come out in support of the new state law as well as legislation that is being considered at the federal level. But critics fear it doesn't go far enough and say it should be only available upon request from adults to prevent theft from the store shelves.  Once the governor signs the bill, it will go into effect in December.