HEALTH

House introduces bill to place age restriction on DXM purchase

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, last week introduced bipartisan legislation — the Preventing Abuse of Cough Medicine Treatment Act — that would help combat the abuse of dextromethorphan by placing an age restriction on its purchase. 

“Millions of Americans use these cold medicines responsibly to gain relief from coughs and colds," Braley said. "However, these medicines are available at every supermarket, drug store and convenience store in the country, giving teenagers unlimited access to purchase and abuse them. As a parent, I’m always focused on what we can do to protect Iowa’s children — and after researching this issue, it became clear that something needed to be done.”

"We must protect teens from abusing medicines like DXM, educate teens about the risks associated with this destructive behavior and deter teens from purchasing these medications with the intent to get high," Johnson added.

“This bill is one part of a larger, multipronged approach to prevent cough medicine abuse, along with educating parents and teens about the risks and social stigma associated with this behavior," noted Scott Melville, president and CEO for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. CHPA has long supported an age-18 restriction, as well as national educational efforts to curb teen OTC cough medicine abuse through its StopMedicineAbuse.org education campaign, which includes collaborations with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the National Association of School Nurses and others.

The PACT Act ensures that adults will have reasonable access to these medicines, while at the same time preventing DXM abuse among teenagers. The legislation would restrict the sale of dextromethorphan to those under the age of 18 years, unless presented with a doctor’s prescription. Additionally, it would ensure that only legitimate entities registered with the FDA or comparable state agencies can purchase raw, unfinished (bulk) dextromethorphan.

In 2013 the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that roughly 1-in-20 teens in grades eight through 12 have abused cough medicine by taking excessive amounts to get “high.” Teens will often take up to 25 times more than the recommended dose.

The PACT Act is the House companion to the Senate legislation that was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Ark. It’s being supported by a broad coalition of organizations, including the American Association of Poison Control Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, CHPA, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, National Association of School Nurses, National Consumers League, Partnership at DrugFree.Org, Safe Kids Worldwide and Treatment Communities of America. 

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HEALTH

CRN elevates ‘Duffy’ MacKay to SVP

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Tuesday promoted Douglas “Duffy” MacKay to SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, effective immediately. This promotion recognizes the contributions MacKay has made to CRN in the science and regulatory areas since he joined the association in September 2008.

“Dr. MacKay is a strong and influential voice for the science behind dietary supplements, speaking regularly at scientific symposiums and industry conferences, and sought out consistently by consumer and trade press for thoughtful perspectives on research,” Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO, said. “In addition, his leadership has been instrumental in driving CRN’s science initiatives, which include contributions to the peer-reviewed literature and encouraging scientific and nutrition thought leaders to differentiate between evidence-based nutrition and evidence-based medicine as research paradigms. In leading CRN’s regulatory program, Dr. MacKay has helped shape CRN’s policy positions while robustly and articulately promoting those views to government agencies.”

MacKay oversees CRN’s science and regulatory affairs department, ensuring that the association’s scientific, policy and legislative positions are based on credible scientific rationale. His expertise combines practical knowledge of industry regulation and scientific product development with hands-on experience as a medical practitioner. MacKay is a licensed naturopathic doctor who still sees patients on a part-time basis in an integrative medical practice, and previously spent seven years as a co-owner and practitioner in a family-owned New Hampshire complementary and alternative medicine private practice.

MacKay has published articles in peer-reviewed journals, and serves on the Editorial Board of three peer-reviewed publications: Alternative Medicine Review; Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal; and Natural Medicine Journal. In addition he serves on the Advisory Board for the American Botanical Council and on the NSF International Joint Committee on Dietary Supplements. He is also chair of the Steering Committee for the SIDI Work Group. 

Prior to joining CRN, MacKay worked for two dietary supplement companies as their medical consultant. MacKay earned his B.S. in Marine Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his N.D. from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

 

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FDA targets youth in latest tobacco prevention program

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday unveiled its first youth tobacco prevention program, “The Real Cost,” which will target at-risk youth ages 12 to 17 years who are open to smoking or already experimenting with cigarettes. About 10 million youth in the United States currently fall into this category.

The campaign launches nationally Feb. 11. 

The objective of the campaign is to educate these at-risk youth about the harmful effects of tobacco use with the goal of reducing initiation rates among youth who are open to smoking and reducing the number of youth already experimenting with cigarettes that progress to regular use. 

Through “The Real Cost” campaign, FDA seeks to reduce the number of youth who experiment with tobacco use to ultimately reduce the number of future tobacco users and thereby diminish the harmful consequences tobacco use has on the health of the country. The campaign was developed using evidence-based best practices and multiple phases of research to identify promising messages. The campaign is specifically designed to affect at-risk youth who experiment with cigarettes but do not consider themselves smokers, do not believe they will become addicted smokers and are not particularly interested in the topic of tobacco. Campaign messages are intended to make the target audience acutely aware of the risk from every cigarette by highlighting consequences that youth are concerned about, such as loss of control due to addiction and health effects like tooth loss and skin damage. 

Additionally, the campaign will include messages that specifically address the health consequences of menthol cigarettes as youth are more likely to report smoking menthol cigarettes.

Advertising will focus on a multi-channel approach that surrounds teens with the “The Real Cost” message. The campaign includes traditional broadcast media such as television and radio ads, as well as advertising through a mix of other multimedia channels including the web, cinema, print publications and out-of-home advertising (e.g., bus shelters). The campaign seeks to maximize message impact by utilizing each channel’s strengths. The campaign will air in more than 200 markets across the country for at least one year.

A critical factor in reducing youth tobacco use is to produce and maintain effective levels of campaign awareness within the target population, the agency noted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that new tobacco prevention campaigns that reach 75% to 85% of the target audience within one year can expect to produce attitude and behavior change within 2 years if the time in market is adequately sustained.

The campaign will reach 90% of the target audience 15 times a quarter for a total reach and frequency of more than 9 million youth 60 times a year, the FDA stated. 

 

 

 

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