As we spend time at home and practice social distancing, this can be a great opportunity for us reflect on the health and wellness of ourselves and our families. And a conversation about health should include family and peer discussions about the SAFE use of medications. On this page, we highlight activities that your K-12 child can do with minimal/moderate adult support, and suggest ways to run these activities at home or in a virtual classroom environment.
Scroll down to learn about THREE activities you can do with your teen at home.
Continue to check back frequently for new ideas, tips and FAQs!
As families shelter in place, it seems unnecessary to worry about prescription medication misuse since our children are safe at home. Why should we talk about prescription drug misuse as a family?
- Every day, more than 5,700 Americans misuse medication for the first time (2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health).
- There is relatively easy access to medications. Although the U.S. comprises less than 5% of the world’s population, Americans consume 80% of the world’s supply of prescription painkillers1. And about two-thirds of those misusing these drugs report that they obtained the medications from family members or friends (most often for free). Understanding how to safely store and dispose of medications is a key prevention strategy in your home and workplace.
- Parent influence is one of the most important predictors of early substance misuse—discussing boundaries and clear expectations with your teen, will help them navigate risky situations in social settings later on.
- Find more resources and information on our Understand the Issue
Beginning the conversation about prescription drug misuse can be scary. How can Generation Rx help me engage my K-12 student(s)?
Generation Rx can help you teach these safe medication practices to people of all ages. And although many of our activities for K-12 audiences are designed for small group interaction, our tools are adaptable to group size and setting. If you are an educator trying to run a virtual classroom, or simply a parent looking to engage a teen at home, we will help guide you.
Our core messages are quite simple:
- Only use prescription medications as directed by a health professional.
- Never share your prescription medications with others or use someone else’s medications.
- Always store your medications securely to prevent others from taking them, and properly dispose of medications that you no longer need.
- Be a good example to those around you by modeling these safe medication-taking practices and discussing the dangers of misusing prescription drugs with your family, friends, colleagues, students, or patients.
Review the Basics
The core messages of the Teen Toolkit are best summarized in our Tips for Teens. Use this one page document to:
- Identify strategies teens can use for turning down opportunities to misuse medications
- Summarize healthy alternatives for coping with stress
“Minute Activities” are short, hands-on activities designed to teach teens how to safely use prescription medications in an effort to prevent their misuse.
Minute Activity: Spelling Bee (10 min, for Individual Activity or Group Play)
Set up the program:
- Download the set of Minute Activities. Refer to Activity 1: Spelling Bee.
- Prepare the needed materials, ex. paper, pencils, scissors
- Only one person is needed (with the adult checking the answers at the end). But this is best run as a speed competition!
Minute Activity: Beat the Buzzer (5 min, for Group Play)
Set up the program:
- Download the set of Minute Activities. Refer to Activity 2 (pg 5): Beat the Buzzer.
- Prepare the needed materials, ex: bell or buzzer.
- This is best run as a speed competition! But you can treat it as a trivia game. One person will need to read the statements and determine if the answers are correct.
- Want to see an example of this activity in action? View the video here.
Lead the Scene (30-45 min, for Group Play)
In a traditional program, a facilitator would start a program by going through the Medication Safety for Teens slide deck (Powerpoint). Each activity that follows would build on each other. In a virtual classroom setting, teachers can follow the instructions provided in the traditional facilitator guide. But for use at home, the points contained in the presentation can be summarized by reviewing the Tips for Teens handout referenced above, AND reviewing the definitions of misuse, which are listed below. With these fundamental lessons covered, you can run a family activity with our Lead the Scene activity and discuss how teens might respond to different scenarios involving the misuse of medications.
- Taking more of a prescription medication than prescribed.
- Taking a prescription medication for a reason different than prescribed.
- Sharing or taking someone else’s prescription medication.
Before the at-home program:
- Download and print the facilitator talking points (1 copy/facilitator). Parents/facilitators will find guiding talking points to help review the activity steps and drive conversation.
During the at-home program:
- Access the video, “Lead the Scene”.
- This activity involves watching short video scenes and discussing each one before moving on. Student(s) at home should watch each scenario, and respond to the discussion questions that are found in the facilitator talking points. Ideally, an adult would watch and pose questions along with the student(s), allowing for immediate family-engaged conversation.
1Manchikanti L, Singh A. Therapeutic opioids: a ten-year perspective on the complexities and complications of the escalating use, abuse, and nonmedical use of opioids. Pain Physician. 2008 Mar;11(2 Suppl):S63-88.