What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet?

What’s in the medicine cabinet in your home? And why is this important?

Misuse of opioids, including prescription pain medications, is a serious problem in Ohio and across the country. Overdose deaths from opioids have created a public health emergency. In 2016, more than 4,000 Ohioans died of an unintentional drug overdose—more than car accidents—ranking Ohio as #1 in the nation. All areas of Ohio are affected by the epidemic of drug overdoses: rural, suburban, and urban.

Prescription opioids are found in many medicine cabinets, making them readily available. Half of those who misuse these prescription painkillers obtained them from a family member or friend for free. The prevalence of other drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl, is also a cause for concern.

The issues related to opioids are very complex. It will take an entire community effort over the long term to address the current issues and the underlying causes.

What can adults who work with Cloverbud-age children do?

  • Find out if your local community has a drop-off location for prescription drugs and disseminate this information to your 4-H families so they understand how to dispose of these medications properly.
  • Emphasize that no one should take medicine that is not prescribed for them or give their prescription medication to anyone else.
  • Have a pharmacist come to talk to the club about medication safety.
  • Do activities that help youth to be positively engaged in their community, as well as those that build their communication, social and emotional, and interpersonal skills, which will help them build a foundation to resist future peer pressure.
  • Learn about drug addiction and how it is a disease that affects the brain.
  • Access materials from the Generation Rx Toolkit developed by Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.org/drugoverdose/opioids
Generation Rx: www.generationrx.org
National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction
Ohio Department of Health: https://www.odh.ohio.gov/-/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/health/injury-prevention/2016-Ohio-Drug-Overdose-Report-FINAL.pdf?la=en
State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy: http://pharmacy.ohio.gov/Pubs/DrugDisposalResources.aspx

4-H Healthy Living: Are We Practicing What We Pledge?

With health as the 4th H and with a variety of healthy living projects, 4-H as an organization recognizes the importance of promoting and establishing healthy habits for its members. However, some aspects of 4-H have yet to embrace health promotion.
In 2016, a survey study was conducted to 4-H club leaders about club practices related health. The survey results below showed that although some practices align with health recommendations, the majority of 4-H clubs surveyed were not serving healthy foods and beverages nor allowing time for physical activity during club meetings.

• Over 90% of clubs served water and not quite half served 100% fruit juice (45.6%), but other beverage offerings included fruit-flavored drinks such as Kool Aid (50.5%), artificially sweetened fruit juice (36.9%), and soda (33.3%).
• Cookies and baked snacks were the top food items served at club meetings; fruit was the third most served food item, followed by chips and pizza.
• A majority of clubs (59%) hold fundraisers involving food items; top items sold were baked goods, pizza, and candy bars.
• Only two-fifths of clubs always and less than half sometimes allotted time for physical activity.
• Club leaders identified limited time, lack of interest, lack of space, and physical disabilities of club members and leaders as challenges to implementing healthy living activities.

4-H volunteers have the opportunity to help children meet guidelines for physical activity and healthy eating by regularly incorporating healthy living activities into 4-H club meetings. For example, to increase physical activity, try including active movements into already existing activities such as icebreakers and roll call. Try to keep MyPlate in mind by including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsweetened beverages as snacks during meetings. Finally, consider taking the 4th H for Health Challenge to jump start your club’s journey to healthier meetings.