DXM Cough Syrup Law In Florida

With the New Year under way, we hope that everyone working a program of addiction recovery made it through the holiday (one that is typified by heavy alcohol consumption) without relapsing on drugs and/or alcohol. At Family Recovery Specialists, we understand the difficulties that come with navigating the dangerous waters of the holiday season. Those of you who managed the task successfully should be proud of your accomplishment, which served to strengthen your recovery.

As 2016 came to an end, there were a number of legislative acts that occurred on both the federal and state levels, which will hopefully have an impact on substance abuse in the coming year. In the Capitol, the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act should result in an additional $1 billion in funding for addiction treatment services across the country. The bill should strengthen the programs laid out in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) that was passed earlier in the year, amid concerns about a significant lack in funding.

Together, the Cures Act and CARA could have a major impact on the insidious opioid epidemic in America. It is worth noting that there were a number of laws signed in the 12th-hour of 2016 that could do some good in the coming year, some of which could prevent teenagers from making bad decisions involving the use of substances. Poor choices that could start them down the hard road of substance abuse and addiction.

Suppressing, Cough-Suppressing Drugs

You are probably aware that there are several over-the-counter (OTC) medications that, if used incorrectly, can have intoxicating effects. One commonly sought after OTC drug is cough syrups containing dextromethorphan, or DXM. Found in cold and flu medicines, like Robitussin and NyQuil™, DXM is the ingredient which suppresses one’s cough. For decades, teenagers and young adults have consumed large quantities of DXM-containing drugs to get high. Despite the dangers, minors can still purchase the potentially harmful substances in drug stores throughout the country.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Florida Senate Bill 938, effective January 1, 2017, prohibiting the sale of cough syrups containing dextromethorphan to minors. Anyone who appears to be younger than 25-years old, must present an ID to purchase cough medication in Florida. DXM can be found in over 100 different OTC medications, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and can have potentially very harmful effects.

“DXM is often abused in high doses by adolescents to generate euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations,” the DEA wrote in a report on the substance.

Some of our readers may think that the new law is extreme, but it is worth noting that DXM abuse can cause:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain
  • Impaired Physical Coordination
  • Rapid Heart Beat

Adolescents Do Experiment

Some parents would like to believe that a bill like SB 938 is not necessary. However, many young people like to experiment with substances that are easily accessible. Consider how many young teens will try smoking a cigarette or even using marijuana. The same is true for drugs like dextromethorphan. Sometimes it’s a dare or a situation where the whole group is experimenting with a particular substance.

Family Recovery Specialists offers an At-Risk Program for adolescents and young adults that are experimenting or abusing substances, but may not necessarily have an addiction problem. Such individuals typically are in the first stages of substance use and are not yet dependent on any addictive substance. These young people if intervened upon early enough can be prevented from progressing into more addictive and dangerous levels of substance use.

Our At-Risk Program is an intensive program more so than our individual/family therapy approach and provides education for the parents and the child, as well as individual therapy, family therapy and a group component. We feel it is important to explore the underlying reasons for a child’s experimentation with substances, such as DXM, and provide the child tools for making better decisions and avoiding further substance use.

Our At-Risk program is tailored to a specific young person’s needs and focuses on education, prevention and family therapy to encourage a teen to make better decisions. In cases where a young person has a more serious problem, one of our other more intensive treatment approaches can be utilized to address a substance abuse or addiction issue.

Please call us at 305-595-7378 if we can help someone you are concerned about. We can work with individuals of all ages and we have specific and extensive experience working with young people and their families.

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