DPS Commissioner Supports DXM Restrictions

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety speaks out in support of Senate Bill 951, which would place age restrictions on the purchase of Dextromethorpan (DXM). DXM, which can now be bought over the counter (OTC), is generally a safe and effective cough suppressant when usage is limited to recommended dosage levels. When taken in higher quantities, it can pose a very real danger to the user, including hallucinations, brain damage, seizure and even death.

Driving under the influence of over the counter medications can be just as deadly as driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. "The abuse of this drug impairs a person's judgement, mental ability and coordination, which makes it extremely dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car," said Public Safety Commissioner Kevin L. Ward.

Statistics have shown that one in ten teenagers abuse OTC medications, including cough syrup. "This is an alarming statistic, and DXM can be a cheap and easy way for our children to get high. The abuse of over the counter drugs is more common than most people think," said Ward. As a participant in the YuCan Coalition, a group of school kids, teachers, administrators, and community folks, the stories of easy access and wide spread abuse of this drug is alarming. Anyone can walk into a grocery or drug store and buy cough syrup containing DXM, which is also readily available on the internet. Because it is so easy to get and legal to buy, young people may not realize how harmful this product can be. "I can see how this legislation would make a significant impact to our youth, and I fully support recommendations for mandatory age restrictions on the purchase of this drug," said Ward.