In 2011, poison centers managed over 140,000 cases of medicine poison exposures involving children ages 6 to 19.
An estimated 58,546 emergency department visits were caused by adolescents self-administering medications, and 33.9 percent of these visits resulted from an overdose of OTC medications – about 10,000 per year.
Scholastic, in partnership with the American Association of Poison Control Centers, has developed a program to teach tweens about over the counter (OTC) medication safety. Research has shown students begin to self-medicate around 11 years old. Unfortunately, when not equipped with the knowledge and information to make safe choices, adolescents may end up doing more harm than good. Students are entering a time of their lives when they’ll be more responsible for their own self-care, including making decisions about their health and medicines. With this in mind,OTC Literacy was specifically created for use by 5th and 6th-grade teachers and students. The program has been created to raise awareness of over the counter medicine usage behaviors and provide resources to better equip educators, school nurses, and families with knowledge about OTC medicines and responsible usage. Educating 5th and 6th-grade students about OTC medicine safety can have a significant, and potentially lifesaving impact. All lesson plans, teacher instructions, student worksheets, assessment tools, and videos for OTC Literacy are right at your fingertips online! Click here to see the program.