New law prohibits the sale of more than 100 different cold medications, which contain substance some are calling 'the new crystal meth'
State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti announced Friday legislation he introduced earlier this year was signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo restricting the sale of certain cold medicine and other cold remedies containing the ingredient dextromethorphan (also known as "DXM") to minors in New York.
The restrictions, which will go into effect in late December, prohibit the sale to minors of medications that contain DXM, an ingredient that experts say is being abused by teenagers as a way to get high.
Grisanti, who first introduced the legislation in January, has pushed strongly for the bill to become law. He delivered the proposal to the governor's office early last week.
"The abuse of DXM is increasing among teens, and part of the reason for that is because the substance is so easy to access," Grisanti said. "As an over-the-counter drug, prior to this legislation there were no restrictions as to who can purchase any medicine that contains DXM. This new law prohibits the sale of over 100 cold medications to anyone under the age of 18."
Prior to Grisanti's legislation being signed into law, there were no restrictions as to who could purchase any type of medicine containing DXM or how much can be purchased at one time. Addiction counselors have reported a number of teens are under the misconception that over-the-counter medicines are harmless and cannot cause significant illness or even death.
Grisanti's camp said extremely high dosages of DXM can induce a hallucinatory state and/or serious sides effects that may include confusion, dizziness, double or blurred vision, slurred speech, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, numbness or fingers and toes, and disorientation. Some of the visual hallucinations and sensations are believed to be similar to other dissociative anesthetics, like PCP and Ketamine, with some addiction counselors saying DXM is the new alternative to previous users of cocaine and crystal meth.
Research has found males between the ages of 15 and 19 are the most frequent abuses of DXM, although female teens and children of both genders younger than 15 are also believed to be experimenting with substances they usually find in their medicine cabinet at home, purchase themselves or shoplift from a store.
The amount of said medications that can be purchased at one time will also be limited. Any store that is found to be in violation of the new law will be subject to a fine of $250.
"What we are dealing with is an epidemic involving many of our young people, and we can no longer ignore the catastrophic results that abuse of these medications is producing," Grisanti said. "This legislation is a step in the right direction and helps to put these particular form(s) of drug abuse on everyone's radar so that they are aware of it and we can all work together to keep these types of medicine(s) out of the hands of our children."