School Nurses Helping With Presciription Drug Abuse

Friday, April 18, 2008

Silver Spring, MD -- The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) announced "Smart Moves, Smart Choices," a program that responds to the growing rate of prescription drug abuse among middle and high school students nationwide.

NASN has teamed up with PriCara®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., on the program, which features a news series and Web-based resources targeted to school nurses, teachers and parents. "Smart Moves, Smart Choices" educates teens about the serious risks of abusing prescription medicines, such as those used legitimately to treat pain.

"As the onsite healthcare professionals in schools, school nurses are preparing themselves with the right tools to help with the prevention of prescription drug abuse," said Sandra Delack, RN, MEd, NCSN, NASN President-Elect. "This program will provide schools and parents with facts in a news-style format to motivate young people to make informed choices that lead to healthy behaviors."

A national survey of more than 1,300 school nurses revealed that nearly 60 percent of school nurses indicated prescription drug abuse is a growing or significant problem in their communities.

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 percent.
* 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.

"Smart Moves, Smart Choices" includes four videos and lesson plans prepared for "the.Medic," a health and wellness feature of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions' "the.News," a new national news service for middle and high school students.

Videos feature interviews with experts on drug abuse, scientists, health practitioners, parents and recovering teens. The series kicks off with "Myth Busters," a video dispelling the misinformation about prescription drugs, including the beliefs that they are less dangerous than illegal drugs and not addictive.

Other topics include a look at the impact of abusing prescription pain medications on the developing brain, the social impact of addiction, and analyzing messages about drugs in popular culture.

Each downloadable video is accompanied by science and language arts curricula to facilitate classroom activities and discussion. The program includes a "the.Medic" video and guide for parents, who play an important role in reinforcing their children's education about prescription medications.

"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."

NASN will promote the program among its 14,000 members to reach teens and their parents around the country.

For more information on the program and to view the videos and curricula, visit

PriCara™, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., provided funding for the program.


firstmt_002 said...

NASN program has been of great help among the youth.It guides the youth to a brighter future.NASN is helping the youth to stop taking such prohibited drugs.The said program helped many highschool and even college students to realize how dangerous drugs are.