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What does checking ID when buying OTC cough medicine do?

Bunny
January 10, 2019

A couple of days ago I bought some OTC liquid Robitussin for a cough at Rite Aid. At checkout, they asked to see my ID, gave it a cursory glance, and continued to ring me up. I asked if one had to be 21 to buy it (I am so obviously over 21). She replied that people can use OTC drugs like this to make meth. Yes, I know that. But she didn't look my name up on a list of known drug abusers. There didn't seem to be any point to it, other than to check my age. Am I missing something obvious?

Comments (19)

  • nannygoat18

    In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit the sale of DMX (the active ingredient in cough suppressants) to minors. Since then, other states have enacted similar laws as it has the potential to produce a cheap easy high and is especially popular among teens. An ID check is mandatory if a customer appears to be under age 25. Enjoy the compliment,


    There is no list of known drug abusers.


    Bunny thanked nannygoat18
  • Bunny

    I’m in California and I figured it was to check my age. That’s all she had to say, you have to be 21 to buy this. She instead went into a spiel that wasn’t necessary. In Target they card everyone buying alcohol.

  • pudgeder

    Awhile back, I was in line behind an elderly gentleman who was also buying cough medicine. I would say he was about 80+.

    They carded him too.

    He said, "I bet I don't like a day over 90."


    Bunny thanked pudgeder
  • arcy_gw

    The Government is doing its best to idiot proof the country. That's a no win situation.

    Bunny thanked arcy_gw
  • lakeaffect

    No, arcy, "the government" does not require ID checks for everyone purchasing cough syrup, alcohol or tobacco or other age-limited products, they only say certain products cannot be sold to minors, they don't say how to prevent such sales, that is up to the retailers. In my opinion, "card them all" programs exist because most retailers don't want to spend time, money or effort to actually teach people to spot minors or card people who look, say, under 30, instead they take the easy way out, and put the onus on us, as consumers, to put up with providing ID when we are clearly well over the legal age to purchase controlled products.

    Bunny thanked lakeaffect
  • HU-324894491

    It scares the teenagers.

    Bunny thanked HU-324894491
  • maddielee

    “It scares the teenagers

    Exactly, it’s a deterrent.

    Bunny thanked maddielee
  • tinam61

    I thought pseudoephedrine was the ingredient used to make meth? Is there a formula of Robitussun that contains that? Here in Tennessee, customers must show photo ID to buy the decongestant and there is a limit as to how much you can buy in a month. Our license is scanned at the drugstore, so there is a record of pseudoephedrine purchases. I'm not sure that there is an age requirement. I occasionally buy it (sudafed) for allergy/sinus.

    Bunny thanked tinam61
  • nannygoat18

    Yes, that's correct.


    Per Google, state laws prohibit individuals under the age of 18 from purchasing any quantity of allergy or cold medicines containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine without a prescription.

    Bunny thanked nannygoat18
  • Bunny

    tinam61, that's what I thought too. I bought Robitussin DM Max Strength. The active ingredients are Dextromethorphan and Guaifenesin. I wouldn't buy anything containing pseudoephedrine, which is nasty stuff. I can't abide anything that speeds me up. BTW, Robitussin is pretty foul tasting.

    Clearly they were just checking for age. Fine. When I asked the clerk it was out of curiosity, not being accusatory or defensive. She could have just said, you have to be 21. I guess so many people challenged her she went into a rant about making meth. Maybe Robitussin is some secret sauce for meth.

  • jn3344

    No, it's the Dextromethorphan. If you drink enough of it, it gives you a kind of nasty, cheap, hallucinogenic high.

    Bunny thanked jn3344
  • Bunny

    nasty, cheap, hallucinogenic high

    Just what I need. Ugh.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    I would say that the fact that the cashier was not clear on why they were carding customers is proof enough that a blanket I.D. policy is necessary, rather than relying on the judgement of low wage workers.

    Bunny thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • neetsiepie

    When my DD worked in retail she had to give a spiel about donating or signing up for something, ICR but she said they were required to do that because they could get dinged if they didn't and the store employed secret shoppers to record clerk responses.


    So it could be store policy to ask for ID to ensure minors don't buy it. And because of that they must ask all customers, even those clearly over the age of 21. The clerks probably do it because of the secret shopper thing.


    I am a secret shopper, BTW. It's kind of fun, I get to pick the shops I want to do and I usually get s free item or meal for a bit of my time. The compensation, usually under $20 goes into my velvet sofa fund.

    Bunny thanked neetsiepie
  • Louise McCarthy

    Can you say more about the secret shopper thingy? That might be a fun way to earn a little extra money.

    Bunny thanked Louise McCarthy
  • catticusmockingbird

    I won't buy alcohol at Target. Refuse to play their game.



    The Government is doing its best to idiot proof the country.

    If that were true Trump would never have been elected.

    Bunny thanked catticusmockingbird
  • Bunny

    Catticus, what game does Target play with alcohol? Although I shop there for lots of household stuff, their wine prices are generally higher than TJ so I prefer not to buy there because of that.

  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX

    Try delsym next time! Much better tasting and same ingredients. It comes in orange or grape I get orange. I have not been carded. Not the new day night type, just the original delsym.

    Bunny thanked ravencajun Zone 8b TX
  • neetsiepie

    Louise, I am signed up with a company called Best Mark. I get an email about a shop and I can chose to do it or not. Sometimes I'm too late in responding and someone else got assigned the shop.


    Typically you are tasked with a simple task-interacting with an associate and sometimes looking over the store or restaurant for general conditions. I recently did one for an electronics store. I was to ask to speak with someone who was a brand specialist, ask a couple of specific questions and get their card. I was also to purchase something small, like gum or water. That small purchase was not reimbursed, but it shows proof that you actually went in to the business.


    You submit your responses on-line and a few days later receive your pay. It's usually under $20, but it's fun and I usually pick shops that are near somewhere I need to go or am heading to pick up something i need. Some shops are for vehicle service-you get an oil change and are reimbursed for it.


    My friend does SS for another company, I'll ask her the name. She does a lot of restaurant shops. You won't get rich doing it, you can't even earn enough to call it a job, but it's fun to do and make a little extra money. I put that money into a special savings account-it's my mad money account, the one I call my velvet sofa fund. For that over-the-top, totally frivolous splurge purchase.

    Bunny thanked neetsiepie

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