A new Texas law will prohibit minors from being able to buy popular cough medicine.
According to a report from the Texas Tribune, the bill, which is set to go into effect in September, prevents anyone under the age of 18 from buying over-the-counter products that contain dextromethorphan. The cough suppressant is found in over 100 products such as NyQuil and Robitussin.
House Bill 1518 hopes to decrease the number of minors using excessive amounts of cough syrup to get high, as too much consumption of dextromethorphan can have hallucinogenic effects, commonly referred to as "robotripping." A 2017 study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed three percent of high school seniors have used the medicine recreationally.
State Representative Garnet Coleman, who authored the bill, hopes the law will prevent minors from using cough syrup as a gateway drug to harsher substances. "We know that young people will find anything that will alter their states, and particularly substances that are legal, and when used inappropriately, they get high," he said. "The first thing we need to do is crack down on access to those types of legal over-the-counter drugs."
Chris Krese, a spokesperson for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, believes the new law will also fortify the relationships between pharmacies and their local communities. "Pharmacies, as the face of neighborhood healthcare, also have a commitment to preventing abuse and addiction," he said. "We really want to maintain safe and strong communities and helping to prevent the abuse of certain products is very much integral to that."
Texas is now one of 19 states regulating the sale of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan.