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Tweens Tackle Prescriptive Drugs At Local Middle School


Aired 4/14/11

Students at a local middle school will be pioneers in a new anti-prescription drug program.

— The pilot project is a joint effort between pharmacy residents at the University of San Diego Medical Center and the San Diego Unified School District.

Drugs like Ritalin, prescription pain-killers and over-the-counter sedatives will be the focus of interactive classroom discussions that start on Thursday.

More than 400 seventh and eighth grade students at Memorial Preparatory for Scholars and Athletes middle school got parental consent to participate.

Emilie Smith is a pharmacy resident at UCSD Medical Center. She helped develop the program for kids as young as 11.

“We’re seeing that they’re starting at this age. They’re at high risk. I believe the latest national statistics says that one-in-five teens are using prescription medication for non-medical purposes.”

Smith said easy access to “medicine cabinet” drugs are a major factor in drug abuse among young teens.

But will so-called “tweens” talk about drug misuse at school? Memorial Prep’s principle Georgina Barajas-Aguirre believes they will. She said the program’s format was designed to foster an open dialogue.

“The reason that we’re doing the format in the classroom instead of an assembly is we don’t want to lose the opportunity for that face-to-face conversation, and open it up for them to ask questions and share.”

Following the classroom sessions, parents and students will be asked to evaluate the program.

If it’s successful, UCSD Medical Center and the San Diego Unified School District plan on expanding the program to other schools over the next few years.

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Avatar for user 'myteensavers'

myteensavers | April 14, 2011 at 12:57 p.m. ― 5 years, 11 months ago

This is a great article. The facts are simple. 2500 children try drugs for the first time every day. Some of them as young as 8 years old. Unfortunately parents cannot rely on school administrators to supervise our children. Parents must step up and be more accountable. Myteensavers counselors believe that home drug testing is the key to keeping kids on track. Communication is the key, but home drug testing is a valuable back up that belongs in the medicine cabinet, next to the prescriptions.

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Avatar for user 'mstar'

mstar | April 25, 2011 at 11:39 a.m. ― 5 years, 11 months ago

I think the use of "Tweens" is derogatory and is used mostly by advertisers that target girl between the ages of 8-12. I downgrades what they truly are, children. Children that are supported at home will hopefully know that people who try to get them to take drugs are not their friends. It starts and ends at home. Drugs have been on campuses since the 60's so this is nothing new. Everyone just needs to know that there are drugs on your children's campus. Have you had talks with your child about what to do when approached? By ignoring it you are just making it someone else's problem.

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