Why a Louisiana Lawmaker Took Action to Prevent Teen DXM Abuse

By Louisiana State Rep. Cameron Henry Posted April 04, 2017 under Guest Authors

On August 1, 2014, Louisiana became the sixth state to enact legislation to restrict the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. As a parent of four children, I proudly authored House Bill 514, which took a real step toward preventing substance abuse by our teens and children. 

While DXM provides millions of consumers with relief from cold symptoms when taken properly based on labeling instructions, studies indicate that 1 in 30 teens abuse DXM to get high by consuming up to 25 times the recommended dose of OTC cough medicine. 

As a lawmaker charged with protecting the children of Louisiana, these statistics deeply worried me. Being an involved parent of four children set to become teenagers very soon, I felt even more compelled to take action. 

By preventing the sale of these OTC medications to minors without a prescription, House Bill 514 sent a message to Louisiana teens that when DXM cough medications are abused, there are serious, negative effects. In the past, teens and children dangerously assumed that DXM must be harmless to abuse due to its legal nature.

In addition to correcting this mentality, House Bill 514 addressed the shared concerns of worried Louisiana families that these OTC cough medications were too easily accessible for teens planning to abuse them. Enacting this law made it more difficult for underage teens to engage in abusive behavior without parental knowledge. 

This law gave parents across the state peace of mind, without preventing responsible consumers suffering from coughs and colds access. Keeping our children safe is a priority, and I appreciated the opportunity to address this issue.

Learn how you can take action to prevent abuse here.

State Representative Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) is serving in the second year of his third term as the State Representative for District 82, and was re-elected to his second and third terms without opposition. His district covers the Old Metairie, Old Jefferson and Airline park. He currently serves on the following Committees: Chairman of Appropriations Committee, Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay, Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, Legislative Budgetary Control Council and the State Bond Commission. He graduated from Jesuit High School in 1992 and from LSU with a degree in Political Science in 1997. He then received his MBA from Tulane in Finance and Management in 2004. In 2006 he completed the Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 2014 he was selected by the Washington Post as the Top 40 under 40 in the country. In 2016 he was selected by the Times Picayune as the third most influential elected official in Louisiana. He is married to Jamie Domilise Henry and they have 4 children.