Giant to Card for OTC Remedies with DXM
Giant Food of Landover has joined a host of other retailers that have chosen not to sell over-the-counter (OTC) cough/cold remedies containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to anyone under the age of 18. The 186-store chain will require identification for any shoppers seeking to buy products with DXM that may appear to be underage.
Jamie Miller, manager of public affairs for Giant Food, told the Baltimore Sun, “It’s similar to buying cigarettes – if the cashier has a question, we will ask for verification.”
The division of Royal Ahold has chosen to take this action following continuing reports of teenagers abusing products containing DXM. When taken in high doses, DXM can create a sense of euphoria as well as causing the user to experience hallucinations. On the street, the DXM goes by the names Robo, Skittles, Triple C, Tussin, and Dex. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America estimates 10 percent of teenagers (2.4 million kids) have intentionally abused cough/cold medications to get themselves high.
According to the Sun’s report, there are more than 100 products containing DXM in syrup, lozenge and pill form sold through retail outlets in the U.S.
Back in 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning following the deaths of five teenagers who overdosed on high levels of the raw ingredient dextromethorphan obtained over the internet.
“It’s a sad state of affairs,” Michael M. Gimbel, director of substance abuse education for the Sheppard Pratt Health System, told the Sun in an interview. “We’re slowly but surely emptying the shelves of over-the-counter medicines.”
Several states, according to the Sun report, are considering legislation that would place limits on the number of products containing DXM that consumers can buy at any one shop. No legislation has been passed as of yet.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) issued a press release praising retailers that have taken action to police the sales of products containing DXM. Brooks, Costco, CVS, Eckerd, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart are among the others in addition to Giant Food and other Ahold divisions that require consumers be at least 18 to buy the cough/cold products.
“While education is the most effective tool we have in preventing substance abuse, we feel age restrictions will reinforce our efforts and help parents keep their kids safe,” said Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of CHPA.
Questions: Are further voluntary restrictions such as limiting the number
of items containing DXM that can be sold to a single customer necessary to
address this issue? Is state or federal legislation needed to effectively
deal with the issue? What can retailers do in an environment where it appears
as though we are “slowly but surely emptying the shelves of over-the-counter medicines”?
- Giant to limit access to DXM – Baltimore Sun
- DXM Drug Facts – Partnership for a Drug-Free America
- Cough Medicine Makers Applaud Age Restrictions on Sales of Medicines Containing
Dextromethorphan – Consumer
Healthcare Products Association