News Releases

Senator Murray Introduces Senate Bill to Limit Abuse of Cough Syrup Drug - DXM

May 14 2007

Legislation would ban certain internet transactions in order to keep drug out of the hands of teens. Effort to regulate sale follows the deaths of two Bellingham, WA teens

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill would make it illegal for any unregistered individual to possess or distribute unfinished Dextromethorphan (DXM). While DXM is a safe and effective active ingredient found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, unfinished DXM can be dangerous when abused. DXM has been blamed in the deaths of several youths across the country, including two Bellingham, WA teens who purchased DXM over the internet in 2005.

"Unfortunately, the disturbing misuse of cough medications and pure DXM has had a real cost in our state and across the country," said Senator Murray. "This legislation is a simple step aimed at denying access to those who should never have their hands on unfinished DXM in the first place. We need to continue to be wary of the internet as a dangerous marketplace for our children and take actions like this to regulate emerging threats."

In April of 2005, two Bellingham teenagers were found dead after they had ingested DXM. The subsequent investigation found that the teens had purchased the drugs online from two men in Indiana. Three other children from Florida and Virginia died from DXM they had purchased over the internet from the same dealers.

Recent research indicates that the use of DXM is on the rise across the country. Teenagers are increasingly using the drug which when taken in high doses produces a hallucinogenic high and can result in brain damage and death. Even more dangerous is the trend of mixing DXM with alcohol.

Similar legislation sponsored by Rep. Rick Larsen (D - WA 2nd) passed the House last year.