Scroll Top


(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty and Reed Gusciora sponsored to combat the abuse of a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough and cold medicines was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-650) would regulate the sale of products containing dextromethorphan. Specifically, the bill would prohibit the sale of any product containing dextromethorphan to a person under 18 years of age.
“DXM abuse is becoming increasingly worrisome for law enforcement, parents and health care officials across the country,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “It’s a scary thought, but adolescents are the primary abusers, mainly because it’s cheap and easy to obtain and many parents simply don’t know about it’s potential abuse. With a few simple steps like the ones outlined in this bill, we can combat the risk and ensure this medicine is used properly.”
“The abuse of this ingredient is frightening for many reasons, especially because many teen-agers abusing the drug simply don’t understand the risk and the drug is so easy to obtain,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer). “We make it difficult for adolescents to obtain other dangerous drugs, and this should be no different. With just a few simple changes like this, we can ensure their safety.”
According to, a 2008 study found that one in 10 American teenagers has abused products with DXM to get high, making it more popular in that age group than cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and meth. High DXM doses can cause hallucinogenic and dissociative effects similar to those of PCP or special K.
Under the bill, violations would be punishable by a maximum civil penalty of up to $750.
The bill specifies that, in the case of a retail establishment that is part of a chain with two or more locations within New Jersey, violations would be assessed against the particular retail establishment and not the chain.
The bill also clarifies that its provisions do not apply to the sale or dispensing of prescription medication containing dextromethorphan, provided that it is dispensed by a pharmacist pursuant to a valid prescription.