A Dangerous Trend with Teens

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The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported this past January that more teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug other than marijuana. According to the report, more than 2.1 million teenagers abused prescription drugs in 2006. Teens mistakenly believe that this kind of abuse is safer, but research shows that it is not, and can serve as a gateway to other substances. 64% get the drugs directly from their parents and grandparents medicine cabinets!

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) has partnered with PriCara and the McNeil Lehrer Productions to develop a program to combat this trend. We are encouraging parents, teachers and community groups to use the materials to raise awareness. The program has three components:

  1. A series of four minute videos for use in middle school and high school classrooms. The videos feature subject matter experts and teens. Topics include myths, the teen brain, the impact of abuse, and media literacy. Each video has science and language arts curricula that tie back to national standards. A fifth video is targeted toward parents and would be ideal for PTA or community meetings. These materials are free, and available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/thenews/themedic/.

  2. A free online tool kit with materials on prescription drug abuse among teens. There are downloadable resources for students, teachers, community, parents and nurses. Spanish language materials are coming. These materials are available at www.nasn.org

  3. A continuing education program on prescription drug abuse for health care professionals. This will be published with the Journal of School Nursing and a monograph is available in the tool kit.