September 29, 2016

Indiana Coalition Kicks Off Medicine Safety Youth Educators Pilot Program



This summer, CADCA launched the Medicine Safety Youth Educators Program, a pilot initiative whereby CADCA-trained youth will teach 5th and 6th graders a curriculum designed to increase their knowledge about responsible over-the-counter (OTC) medicine use. The presentations will be conducted during October 2016 to coincide with National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month (NMAAM).

The curriculum, called the Over-the-Counter Medicine Safety program, was developed in partnership with Scholastic and the American Association of Poison Control Centers, with support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Since 2014, CADCA and McNeil have partnered to promote over-the-counter medicine safety in communities and schools.

This past spring, coalitions were invited to take part in the pilot program. Among the coalitions that are participating in this initiative is Shelbyville, Indiana’s, Shelby County Drug Free Coalition, which also received the 2016 Dose of Prevention Award.  Two youth – Elizabeth (Lizzie) Clark and Kyle Huseman – are the youth trainers; both are seniors at Shelbyville High School.

“Our community has been a victim to drug abuse for too long, and I am happy to be a part of a vital effort to work with the youth of Shelby County to help reverse that,” says Clark.

Beginning this week, they will be presenting the curriculum to kids at Girls Inc. (an area girls’ club) and to students at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, where Clark had attended. The curriculum that the teens will be using includes videos, a drug facts poster, a digital storybook, and more. Clark and Huseman created specific activities for each lesson they teach, including having 5th and 6th grade students looking at medicine bottles and writing down certain things about them, such as the drug facts label, dosage, etc. The participants will be asked to work in groups to help each other become more familiar with the labels.

“I am most excited about getting a chance to help teach kids about how over-the- counter medicines should be taken,” Huseman explains. “I want to make a difference with them, and help them understand the importance of medicine safety.”

There will also be an art and writing contest to show what they have learned from the classes. Additionally, the coalition will host an awards banquet for the young students and their parents, so the adults have opportunities to see what their children learned and to honor the participants for their achievements. The art and essays will be displayed at the banquet and during the coalition’s annual public event – the Red Ribbon Breakfast –set for a later day.

“I really enjoyed the CADCA Mid-Year Training Institute’s lively learning environment that the teachers brought to the program. They totally kept our interest and attention,” says Huseman.

Concludes Clark, “We’re hoping to do the same.”

Chances are, they will.

Check out Scholastic’s OTC Medicine Safety program materials and integrate them into your NMAAM activities and beyond! 

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