It’s Time to Make Smart Moves, Smart Choices.

By Linda Davis-Alldritt Posted December 19, 2011 under Guest Authors

School nurses across America are committed to helping students stay healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Working on the frontline with teens, they know the range of issues parents deal with concerning the health and welfare of their children.

Multiple national surveys point to the disturbing abuse of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines among today's teens. According to a 2010 survey, 1 in 4 teens have abused a prescription medication and the 2010 Monitoring the Future survey found that just under 5 percent of teens have abused over-the-counter cough medicine to get high in the past year.

School nurses, parents, and educators need to work together to educate teens about Rx and OTC medicine abuse and the serious risks associated with this behavior. To help arm parents and educators with the information they need, we, in partnership with CHPA and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., have created many valuable resources, including the Home to Homeroom webpage and our recently launched Smart Moves, Smart Choices initiative. Smart Moves, Smart Choices provides information to help parents, school nurses, and educators talk with teens about medicine abuse and also examine the motivating factors behind this dangerous behavior. By answering the question, “Why?,” our hope is that parents and educators will be better equipped to prevent the behavior and/or address the problem. These tools help us motivate parents to monitor their medicine cabinets and talk with their teens. The Schools Get Smart, Schools Take Action Tool Kit is available free-of-charge to any school across America in hard-copy format or via digital download at the Smart Moves, Smart Choices website—www.SmartMovesSmartChoices.org. The Tool Kit also provides details on how schools can hold assemblies to educate students and their parents about medicine abuse and/or incorporate this issue into lesson plans. Everyone needs to do their part to protect, educate, and safeguard our teens to ensure a brighter future. Together, we can keep teens healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

Linda Davis-Alldritt, MA, BSN, RN, FNASN, FASHA, of Sacramento, California, is the current President of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). Linda serves on the Executive Committee and as the NASN's liaison to several organizations, committees, workgroups, and task forces important to school health. She works closely with the President-Elect, Vice President, the Executive Director and the NASN Board to implement NASN's mission, vision, and strategic plan.