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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DXM Case Study Shows Promise

While both safe and effective, over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines can be abused and be dangerous. It is likely that you have some knowledge of the trend, mainly among teenagers, of abusing cough syrups in order to get high. Many cough medicines contain minute amounts of alcohol, but the desired ingredient sought after by teen abusers is known as dextromethorphan (DXM).

The common cough medicine ingredient suppresses one’s cough and works as expectorant. In normal doses it does as advertised, but when it is used in un-recommended ways the cough suppressant can cause intoxication. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), DXM can cause:
  • Euphoria
  • Dissociative Effects
  • Hallucinations
In recent years there have been attempts made to curb DXM abuse. Most commonly by way of limiting how much of DXM containing products can be purchased at one time, or setting age restrictions. Since 2010, DXM abuse has been on the decline which led to a case study on the causes of the decrease in use, DSN reports. “Dextromethorphan: a case study on addressing abuse of a safe and effective drug,” was published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention.

DXM abuse is at an all-time low with approximately 3 percent of U.S. teens using it in unintended ways, the article reports. The case study, conducted by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), took an in depth look at CHPA’s efforts to:
  • Raise parental awareness of the behavior.
  • Increase teen perception of risk and social disapproval.
  • Limit teen access to the products.
“While we cannot point to one specific effort and say, ‘This is the action that drove down abuse,’ CHPA and our member companies have been disciplined in executing a program that is grounded in research and utilizes tools to ensure our strategies and specific messages were effective,” CHPA Senior Vice President, Policy, and General Counsel & Secretary David Spangler said. “We hope that this case study demonstrates how targeted and less disruptive interventions can be effective when trying to reach teens on niche issues such as dextromethorphan abuse and that the learnings we gained will be beneficial for other groups who are working to positively influence teen behavior.”

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