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New Texas Law Prohibits Minors from Buying Cough Medicine

New Texas Law Prohibits Minors from Buying Cough Medicine

If you want to buy certain cough medicines in Texas, you’ll have to cough up your license and prove that you’re at least 18 years old, according to a new Texas law, House Bill (HB) 1518. That’s because, as of September 1st, the new law prohibits the sale of cough syrup containing dextromethorphan to minors.  

This law, which was unanimously passed by the Texas Legislature, makes Texas the 19th state to establish a minimum age for purchasing dextromethorphan-containing cough syrup.

Intent of the New Texas Cough Syrup Law

Introduced and authored by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), HB 1518 was developed out of growing concerns that minors could easily access and abuse cough medicines containing dextromethorphan.

When consumed in large amounts, dextromethorphan can lead to addiction and harmful side effects, like (but not limited to):

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma
  • Death

Many supported this new law, saying that it was easier for minors in Texas to get a hold of dextromethorphan-containing cough medicines that it was for them to get ahold of alcohol. Supporters have also pointed out key findings that:

  • About 3% of high school seniors use dextromethorphan-containing cough medicines to get high.
  • These cough medicines can act as a gateway drug, leading users to try more dangerous substances.

What the New Texas Cough Syrup Law Means for Retailers & Consumers

With HB 1518 now in effect, Texans will have to show their ID to purchase Nyquil, Robitussin, and about 100 other over-the-counter cough suppressants that contain dextromethorphan.

The new law also sets forth penalties for retailers who sell these cough medicines to minors, with:

  • A 1st offense resulting in a warning
  • A 2nd offense resulting in a $150 fine
  • Any subsequent offense resulting in a $250 fine

Elaborating on the importance of HB 1518, Rep. Coleman has explained that:

We know that young people will find anything that will alter their states, and particularly substances that are legal, and when used inappropriately, they get high… The first thing we need to do is crack down on the access to those types of legal over-the-counter drugs.

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