August 10, 2012 —

I am incredibly excited to join Becky, Blaise, Christy, and Tammy as the newest Five Mom in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse! I am a mom and a high school nurse in Delaware where I work to keep my students healthy and ready to learn. While I have been a school nurse for nearly 15 years, I got my start in nursing in the intensive care unit, which is where I was first exposed to teen substance abuse and became interested in preventing these dangerous behaviors in teens.

School nurses are on the frontline with students every day and see the pressures and temptations that kids today are facing. In fact, I have seen dangerous behaviors among my high school students – like cough medicine abuse – begin to trickle down to middle school aged students as well. This makes preventative measures crucial – it is so important to take action before cough medicine abuse becomes a problem in your community or home.

That is why I worked with the National Association of School Nurse’s Smart Moves Smart Choices program to organize an assembly to educate parents and children in my community on the issue of medicine abuse. A few weeks before the assembly, a popular high school student athlete in my community overdosed on prescription medicine. Thankfully the student survived, but this local tragedy drove home the significant dangers of medicine abuse even more. It was a great example of a “teachable moment” – opportunities that come up at any time and provide an “in” for talking to your children about medicine abuse.

It is never too early to take precautions and start the conversation about medicine abuse – teens need to know and understand the dangers and consequences associated with abusing prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. It is so important for parents to be informed on these issues, and for teens to have plenty of options to make safe and healthy choices. Too often parents may think “not my kid,” but they are wrong; it can happen to any teen.

As a member of the Five Moms campaign, I am thrilled to be able to reach even more teens and their families with information about the dangers of medicine abuse. With your help, we can all work together to prevent cough medicine abuse before it even starts.