QUINCY, Mass. — Ahold USA said yesterday that its retail pharmacies will voluntarily place an age restriction of 18 years or older for the purchase of dextromethorphan products, effective May 20. This move is a voluntary action in response to a national trend of abuse of these cough suppressant products by young people, the company said. “While over-the-counter products containing dextromethorphan are perfectly safe when ingested at recommended dosage levels, there’s a trend among many young people towards abusing these products,” said John Fegan, senior vice president of pharmacy operations for Ahold USA. “This decision was based on the need to balance the expectations of our customers who use these safe and highly effective medicines legitimately with the need to address a growing abuse crisis involving many teens.” The Food and Drug Administration, Rockville Md., has identified products containing the ingredient, found in many OTC cough and cold remedies, as being an easy target of abuse by teens. According to research conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, New York, one in 10 teenagers, or 2.4 million young people, have intentionally abused cough medicine to get high. Abuse of products containing dextromethorphan can cause death and other serious adverse health issues such as brain damage, seizure, loss of consciousness and irregular heart beat, Ahold said.
Read More of Today's Headlines