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The Baltimore Sun reports that Ahold’s US supermarket chains – including Stop & Shop and Giant Food – will not sell cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to teenagers because of reports of abuse of the products by young people. The story points out that teens are prone to abuse DXM by either concentrating it in powdered form or taking copious amounts of syrup.

According to the Sun, “Among more than 100 products containing DXM are Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough Suppressant, Sucrets 8 Hour Cough Suppressant and Vicks 44 Cough Relief, according to the National Institutes of Health. Those brands also have products that do not contain DXM.

“The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2005 that five teenagers died in cases ‘that may be associated with the consumption of powered DXM,’ although it said the ingredient, when used as directed, is ‘generally safe and effective’.”

Other chains restricting the same of medicines containing DXM include Safeway, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, CVS, Target, Walgreen, Brooks, Eckerd and Costco. Several states are considering legislation that would make such restrictions a matter of law.
KC's View:
It is amazing how many OTC drugs are ending up behind the counter, not quite prescriptions, but requiring the approval of the pharmacist to be distributed.

We must have missed this the first time around, but we frankly were amazed by the Sun note about a survey by the University of Michigan “that 4 percent of 8th graders, 5 percent of 10th- graders and 7 percent of high school seniors said they had used cough or cold medicines to get high.”

As a parent, we find that scary. We can’t imagine that our kids would use such things, and we hope that we’re not just kidding ourselves. We may have to spend some time later today looking through the medicine cabinet…