Healthy World, Healthy Nation, Healthy You

The Prescription Drug Epidemic from the perspective of parent, school nurse and community activist.

Becky King, MS, RN, NCSN and a Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow

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Background:

Becky King, MS, RN, NCSN and a Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow

Becky is the mother of a daughter in long term recovery and knows both personally and professionally the impact the disease of addiction has on families and communities. Becky has been a school nurse for the past 17 years. She is a past president of the Delaware School Nurses Association and is a current member of the Executive Committee for the National Association of School Nurses. Becky is a 2012 Fellow from the Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Program at Rutgers University where her group project was prescription drug abuse awareness and education. Her group is the 2014 recipient of the Caron Foundations Medical Professionals Award for the Greater Philadelphia area.

Becky is honored to serve as a member of “atTAcK addiction”. Her goal is to help educate others on the disease of addiction and to provide awareness and education in all schools throughout Delaware. Her passion is helping other families navigate through the journey of recovery. Becky and her daughter Stephanie make visits to schools, parent groups/forums and community events sharing their story so that it may help others. Becky’s motto: HOPE lives; Recovery IS possible!!!

Overview:

Every 19 minutes a person in the US dies of a prescription drug overdose. We know that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime- that is a 33 % increase in the past five years. Contributing to this trend are the attitudes and beliefs that these medications are safe because they are prescription.

School nurses are crucial prevention and change agents in school communities. School nurses can reach and impact students, staff, parents and families and the community they live in. With regard to primary prevention, it is important to prevent our students from ever using opiates in the first place. Through utilization of prevention materials, such as the National Association of School Nurses’ free-of-charge initiative “Smart Moves, Smart Choices,school nurses can provide valuable awareness and education on the dangers of prescription drug misuse K-12 students and their families. They have the knowledge and education about the topic to provide timely education about this crisis. The school nurse can provide individual teaching moments in addition to formal education or awareness campaigns in school.

3 Key Points:

  • There are so many challenges educators face in classrooms today. Students come to school with a variety of psycho social issues. We are currently in the midst of an epidemic of prescription drug and opiate misuse.
  • It is important for our students today to have early education and awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs. School nurses can be very instrumental in key interventions.

Many parents say “Not My Kid”, however we know that addiction can affect anyone and does not discriminate. It is important for families and school communities to have discussion around the possibility of addiction when experimenting with substances.

Date Aired: December, 2015
Radnor Studio 21

 

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