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Georgia Politics

Bill Would Ban Cough Syrup Sales to Minors

A bill filed in the Georgia House of Representatives would make it illegal to sell or trade with a minor items that contain certain chemicals found in common cough syrups.

House Bill 112, sponsored by State Representative John LaHood, seeks to prohibit the sale of goods to minors if the finished product contains “dextromethorphan.” It would also make it illegal for the person under the age of 18 to purchase products with dextromethorphan, so both parties would be held accountable equally. Anyone who ‘appears to look under 25 years of age’ would be subject to identification under the law, if passed.

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican state representatives Mark Newton, Matt Hatchett, Sharon Cooper, and Deborah Silcox.

The formula with dextromethorphan can cause dizziness and drowsiness and it is worsened if taken with alcohol or marijuana and is often marketed under the abbreviation DXM and names liks Alka Seltzer Plus™, Comtrex™, Coricidin™, Delsym™, Dimetapp™, Mucinex DM™, Pediacare™, Robitussin™, Theraflu™, Triaminic™, Tylenol Cough & Cold™, Vicks DayQuil™/NyQuil™, Vicks Formula 44™.

The bill would enact punishments as follows:

  • FOR THE SELLER:
    • First offense for sale to a minor –a warning letter from local law enforcement for the first violation
    • Second and additional violations would be a civil penalty with a fine of $50 for each violation
    • No risk of losing licensing at the state level
  • FOR THE BUYER
    • First offense by minor to purchase –a warning letter from local law enforcement for the first violation
    • Second and additional violations would be a civil penalty with a fine of $50 for each violation

The initiative isn’t a new one. Around the country, states have worked to limit access of cough medicine to those under the age of 18 as recent numbers report that 1 in 30 teens have used the product to get high, or 3% of the teen population. State Senator Doug Broxton, who sponsored a similar in version Florida that ultimately passed, said the easiest thing to do was “put the burden on the vendor.” Other states like New Jersey, Tennessee, California, New York, Arizona, Louisiana, Virginia, Kentucky and Washington also prohibit the sales to minors. Some permit sale directly to a minor if a prescription is written by a doctor.

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, an advocacy organization, has said “The laws not only prevent young teens from abusing these products, but by requiring proof of age, they make parents aware of the problem,” and the group has been lobbying for federal legislation as well.

You can read the bill below. It has not yet been assigned to a committee.

HB 112_2019

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

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