School Nurses Work to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse by Teens

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) has teamed up with PriCara®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., on a program called “Smart Moves, Smart Choices.” The national program addresses the rise in prescription drug abuse among middle and high school students.

A national survey of more than 1,300 school nurses showed that almost 60% of school nurses indicated prescription drug abuse is a growing or significant problem in their communities. An announcement on the Join Together website noted that the nurses’ observations are consistent with research showing the explosion of prescription drug abuse among youth:

  • From 1995 to 2005, the number of teenagers treated for addiction to prescription pain relievers increased more than 300%
  • Nearly one-quarter of 12th graders report that they have abused prescription drugs by the time they graduate from high school
  • Every day, 2,500 children age 12 to 17 abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time

The program includes 4 downloadable videos for teens, focusing on myth busting, the science of addiction, the social impact of addiction and how media portrays drug abuse. The program also includes lesson plans, a video targeted specifically to parents and a parent guide.

“I think this program is a great way for teens to see and hear, firsthand, the consequences of poor choices…choices that they don’t have to make,” said Hayley Norwood, a recovering teen. “Since prescription drugs are given by a doctor, I thought they were okay for me to take, even though they weren’t for me. What I didn’t realize was the serious consequences I faced by taking someone else’s medications.

With girls surpassing boys in the areas of smoking or abusing prescription drugs and women being up to 48 percent more likely than men to be prescribed a narcotic, antianxiety or other potentially abusable drug (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2001), it’s especially important for teenager girls, their parents, school nurses and teachers to know the truth and the consequences of prescription drug abuse.


Info on “Smart Moves, Smart Choices” / View Videos: the.Medic on the.News

From NASN: National Association of School Nurses Launches Educational Program to Address Surge of Prescription Drug Abuse by America’s Youth (PDF)

From Join Together: School Nurses Helping Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

From this blog: Entries dealing with prescription drug abuse

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