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The importance of teaching over-the-counter medicine safety

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Tweens and over-the-counter medicine safety

Raising an adolescent is not for the faint of heart, and these days it feels like we’re confronting a new topic or issue every week—the behavior of friends and resisting peer pressure, world events that are now on their radar, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and so on.

But here’s one that wasn’t yet on my radar: the potential danger of self-medicating—and overdosing—with over-the-counter medicines. (In our house, I’m still in charge of dispensing the medicine, but I realize now that we’re not so very far away from our oldest wanting more self-sufficiency in that area.)

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than 10,000 ER visits every year result from medicine errors and misuse of OTC medications in kids under 18.

And that’s why they’ve partnered with Scholastic and McNeil Consumer Healthcare to create a variety of educational resources and activities to help schools and families teach medicine safety to tweens and adolescents before they reach that stage.

The importance of teaching over-the-counter medicine safety

According to Partnership for a Drug-Free America, many adolescents consider over-the-counter drugs safer than prescription drugs (and I think many adults are guilty of this too!) and downplay the potential dangers of overdosing or self-medicating. This program seeks to empower tweens with the information they need to make safe choices about over-the-counter drugs through resources for teachers, health professionals, families and community leaders, including:

  • a downloadable newsletter and overview of the program
  • a set of informational resource sheets now available in six languages
  • a medicine safety checklist and action plan
  • and an online interactive activity that encourages responsible medicine storage and safe household practices relating to medicine use.

Plus, there’s a free, illustrated storybook to help demonstrate medicine safety in a friendly format.

Click here to visit the OTC Medicine Safety hub and download your free resources today.

P.S. It’s worth noting, too, that according to Up and Away and Out of Sight, another 60,000 children end up in the ER after getting into the medicine cabinet when their parent or caregiver isn’t looking, so it’s worth reviewing your own storage practices as well.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of McNeil. The opinions and text are all mine.