Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 514 into law, prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors without a prescription.
State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced the bill, effective Jan. 1.
According to WebMD and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, one in 10 teenagers admitted to using DXM to get high. The California Poison Control System reports that DXM abuse calls for children have increased 850 percent in the past 10 years, the most commonly reported type of abuse in the age group.
DXM is a safe and effective ingredient in over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. Taken in large quantities, however, it produces intoxication and hallucinations. DXM has become popular as a recreational drug, known by the street names Robo, Skittles, Triple C, Vitamin C, Dex or Tussin.
“Since 2003, dextromethorphan has been the most commonly abused substance by teenagers reported to the California Poison Control System. More than 80 percent of these calls involve teenagers being treated in a hospital for significant health effects,” said Ilene Anderson, senior toxicologist for the California Poison Control System, San Francisco Division. “It is important for parents, teachers and health-care professionals to be aware of this issue in order to educate and to prevent dangerous health consequences.”
Restricting the sale of DXM was a winning submission in Simitian’s 2004 “There Oughta Be A Law” contest. Wayne Benitez and Ron Lawrence, both with the Palo Alto Police Department at the time, submitted the idea.
For more information, visit www. senatorsimitian.com/legislation.