Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to prohibit pharmacies and stores from selling Dextromethorphan (DXM) -- a substance found in over-the-counter cold medications that can cause serious health risks if abused -- to any person under the age of 18 unless they have a prescription.
The new law addresses the growing problem of teens using DXM to get high and the accompanying dangers. DXM is a cough suppressing ingredient found in over-the-counter cough and cold medications such as Robitussin and Nyquil. Increased use of DXM can lead to serious short and long term health risks including agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, and death.
"This legislation will combat the growing trend of DXM abuse by preventing young people from easily purchasing products that contain DXM," Governor Cuomo said. "The overuse of this drug can lead to terrible consequences, so by limiting access to this substance, this new law will prevent tragedies and protect the health of our children. I thank Senator Grisanti and Assemblywoman Jaffee for their work on this important law."
Under the new law (S.696-B / A.933-B), all retail establishments selling DXM will be required to request proof of age unless the customer appears to be more than 25 years of age. Any retailer violating the new prohibition will be subject to a fine of $250 for each violation. A number of counties in the state including Nassau and Suffolk have already enacted a restriction on the retail sale of DXM to individuals less than 18 years of age.
Senator Mark Grisanti said, "The abuse of DXM is increasing among teens and part of the reason for that is because the substance is so easy to access. As an over-the-counter drug, prior to this legislation there were no restrictions as to who can purchase any medicine that contains DXM. This new law prohibits the sale of over 100 cold medications to anyone under the age of 18."
Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee said, "I thank the Governor for signing this bill and protecting our children and families. We need to make sure that parents and youth understand the danger of over-the-counter drugs like DXM. Once you deny easy access, you raise awareness. It's an important step in reducing DXM abuse and keeping our children safe."