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Dextromethorphan (DXM)

Prevent DXM Overdose

DXM misuse is a large issue

DXM misuse is a large issue with serious health implications for underage buyers.

Protect minors and your business with an easy to implement age verification solution at your point of sale—perfect for pharmacies of other entities that don't normally deal with age restricted purchases of over-the-counter items. The learning curve is very fast, with intuitive operations and less than 3 minutes of training needed.

Key Features

  • Icons specific for products purchased at a pharmacy, including DXM
  • Logging to check scanning history
  • Intelligent Fake Detection(™) - learn more
  • Available Customizations
  • Wall or Flexible Mounting
  • On the Go Age Verification(™) (drive-up windows)
  • Contactless scanning

Can Minors Purchase Cough Syrups?

Two commonly misused cough medicines include Dextromethorphan (DXM) cough syrups and Promethazine-codeine cough syrups. DXM, a non-narcotic cough suppressant, can produce a high or dissociation (i.e. an out-of-body sensation) when ingested in large amounts.

In fact, the effects of DXM abuse have been compared to those of highly addictive hallucinogenic drugs such as PCP and ketamine. Codeine is an opioid drug that, when taken in higher than recommended doses, also produces a high and can be very addictive.

Since the 1950s, DXM has gradually replaced codeine as the most widely used cough suppressant in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) December 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, approximately one in thirty teens admit to drinking OTC cough syrup to get high.

In response to this trend, many states have implemented laws prohibiting the sale of cough syrups to minors.

Why Restrict Minors from Purchasing Cough Syrup?

Because cough syrups are accessible and affordable, teens can easily obtain and misuse these substances. When cough syrups are taken in excess, they have the potential to become habit-forming and addictive.

Teens may drink cough syrups containing DXM to get high, a practice referred to as “robotripping,” “dexing” or “skittling.” Another dangerous trend among teens is mixing cough syrups containing codeine with soda and hard candy. This mixture is referred to as “sizzurp” or “purple drank.”

States Restrictions for Minors Purchasing Cough Syrups

In 2012, California became the first state to adopt laws prohibiting the sale of DXM-containing medicines to minors. States taking similar actions include: New York, Arizona, Louisiana, Virginia, Colorado, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Washington, New Jersey, Florida, Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and Oregon.

Cough syrup laws such as these help prevent minors from misusing cough syrup. They have also increased parental and general awareness of this problem.


California cough syrup laws: On January 1, 2012, California became the first state to ban the sale of cough syrups containing DXM to minors. The state of California also prohibits the possession of OTC codeine without a valid prescription.


Colorado cough syrup laws: On May 11, 2018, Colorado became the 16th state to pass an age 18 sales law on DXM-containing cough syrups.


Florida cough syrup laws: On January 1, 2017, Florida prohibited minors from purchasing OTC cough syrups containing DXM. Individuals who appear to be younger than 25 years old are now required to present their ID to purchase these cough medicines.


Texas cough syrup laws: On May 17, 2019, the Texas Governor signed a law preventing any minor under the age of 18 from purchasing OTC drugs containing DXM. Texas is the 19th state to pass this law.