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Pain relievers not wanted at schools
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Education officials do not want students bringing over-the-county medications with them to school – even if it’s something as safe as Tylenol.
“Even over-the-counter medications can have considerable risk,” nurse Lesa Duvall told members of the School Board as she was joined by several other nurses and medical professionals to stand against an idea being floated which would have allowed students participating in after-school activities to be able to bring over-the-counter drugs like Advil. “There’s also the issue they may share the medication with other students. It’s risky to put medication into the hands of a child without supervision.”
The request to allowed over-the-counter medications was made so some athletes could take anti-inflammatory medications or those prone to headaches could medicate after school hours to relieve pain. Presently school nurses can hold medications for students under parental permission and dispense when needed to the student.
Duvall pointed out nurses know the medications they are dispensing, but having to examine medications being brought by students would cause headaches.
“Capsules could be replaced by other things,” Duvall pointed out, noting it would be a nightmare for school officials to have to examine medications.
Warren County High School executive principal Tony Cassel said there is already an issue with drugs at the school and expanding the policy would only make it more difficult to enforce.
“We already have problems so allowing over-the-counter drugs would make the situation even worse,” Cassel told the School Board.
Even when used correctly, Duvall said over-the-counter drugs could cause problems.
“They could mask symptoms of something more serious,” Duvall said, noting nurses assess students when they come to the school infirmary for issues and that self-medication could hide symptoms of a serious illness.
In the end, School Board member Jeff Lee suggested and was supported in the idea of allowing certified athletic trainer Tim McIntosh to, with parental permission, give over-the-counter medicines to those in extracurricular activities when he is present. The idea of allowing students to carry their own was quashed by the board.
Meanwhile, School Board member Scott Holmes suggested the best scenario is to have the student medicate at home or have a parent bring the medication if there is a need.
“That way the school system doesn’t get the liability,” Holmes said.
The School Board with be consulting McIntosh and its legal department before deciding how to proceed on the over-the-counter medication question next school year.