Del. Lawmakers Look to Ban Sale of Cough Medicine to Teens
Mucinex is one brand that contains the type of medicine lawmakers are looking to ban. (Photo: WBOC)
The law would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from buying these popular types of medicine without a prescription. (Photo: WBOC)
Lawmakers say the abuse of dextromethorphan is a real problem. (Photo: WBOC)
DOVER, Del.- The Delaware General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would ban children under the age of 18 from buying a type of medicine contained in most cough suppressants without a prescription in Delaware. It now goes to Gov. Jack Markell's desk for consideration.
The bill would prohibit them from purchasing dextromethorphan without a prescription. Lawmakers say teenager abuse of the product to get high is a problem. The bill passed both the Senate and House of Representatives unanimously.
Erik Mabus is a pharmacist and owns Bayard Pharmacy in Dover. He says dextromethorphan is contained in well over 100 over-the-counter medications.
"[Most parents] don't look at their medicine cabinet," he said. "They don't realize that could be an issue. They're going to worry about pot and cocaine and thing like that. With a lot of high school kids this is probably a bigger abused drug than any of those kind of things."
Mabus says it can cause hallucination, irregular heart beat and even death depending on the situation. The important thing to note is that dextromethorphan is in most common cough suppressant brands like DayQuil, Mucinex, Delsym and Coricidin.
Mabus says a law like this would help the situation, because it would make it more inconvenient to buy it. But her says if you are still leaving it on the actual shelf and only selling it to people over 18 years of age, you still may have a problem on your hands.
"You're not going to eliminate the theft of it," he said. "[The law] has some positive effects, the kids who are willing to buy it and not steal it, you'll cut that back. But then you're probably going to increase the theft of it."