'Robotripping' bill to become law Jan. 1

Law pitched by Palo Alto officers will require IDs for purchase of drugs with DXM

It took more than seven years, but a proposal by two Palo Alto officers to restrict sale of certain cough medicines to minors will finally become California law next week.

Senate Bill 514, which was authored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, and pitched by two officers as part of Simitian's "There Oughta be a Law" contest in 2004, will take effect Jan. 1. The bill will make California the first state in the nation to ban the sale of medicine containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors.

Sgt. Wayne Benitez and former Palo Alto officer Ron Lawrence first proposed restricting medicine with DXM in 2004. At the time, few in the Legislature had heard of DXM or the "robotripping" effect it produces. That year, the proposal fizzled in the Legislature.

Since then, abuse of this chemical has skyrocketed. According to a report from the California Poison Control System, DXM abuse for children younger than 17 went up by 850 over the past decade.

Simitian revived the bill again this year and it passed overwhelmingly. The passage means that starting on Jan. 1, store clerks will have to check customers' IDs to make sure they are 18 or older before they can purchase cough and cold medicines containing DXM.

The bill is one of 11 Simitian proposals that will become law in 2012. Others include requiring utility companies to get 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020; requiring banks to notify law-enforcement authorities when they suspect financial elder abuse; and extending privacy protections at libraries to electronic content.

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Like this comment
Posted by JA
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2011 at 6:33 am

I agree with restricting DXM, but just so everyone is aware - minors are already nervous about purchasing this stuff. That's why most of them are shoplifting it instead (or just opening the packages right there in the store and drinking the stuff). If you really want to curb its use you are going to have to deny them access completely. Someone needs to educate drug store managers about this.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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