Opinions

School’s drug policy forces sickly students to suffer during the day

By Victoria Brancazio

Should over-the-counter drugs such as these be shared among students in school?

According to the school district’s drug policy, unless you’re a fully stocked pharmacy, you’re out of luck if you have anything resembling a headache or stomachache while at East.

East’s academic pressures affect students sleep schedules and can cause migraines. This can pull focus from class and leave harmful physical consequences. You would think that you could go to straight to the school nurse and receive ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter drug. The unfortunate truth, though, is that Ms. LaMay, East’s school nurse, cannot give you any kind of medication due to the district’s policy on over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

This policy, which can be found in section five of East’s student handbook, states that while students are allowed to self-medicate if they have the original medicine container, they cannot receive medicine from friends or the school nurse. This includes any form of pain reliever, throat lozenges, and even antacids. If a student has prescription medicine that they must take, his or her parent must give the original container to the nurse and have her distribute the medication to the student at the prescribed times, an in-class disturbance for the teacher and embarrassing procedure for the student.

The idea behind this policy is to ensure students’ safety and take precautions against in-school over-the-counter drug abuse. The actual effects of this policy leave students in a frustrating position where many must endure terrible head, stomach and abdominal pains. No one can predict when he or she will suddenly develop a sickness or pain, so most students cannot follow the policy and self-medicate to fix their problem because they have not brought the proper medication to school.

This policy also has a reverse effect on several students. Some people have actually resorted to carrying emergency packs full of anything they may need at any given time. The fact that people are carrying unnecessary medicine in their bags can be just as frustrating and dangerous. There’s always the chance these first aid kits could get lost or stolen and, depending on the type and amount of medication is inside, could potentially be abused by another student.

Another aspect of this policy that places students in a corner is the fact that they cannot give or receive medicine to and from one another without the threat of being given detention or even being suspended. But in reality, what is a student with even something as simple as a stomachache supposed to do when he or she doesn’t have medicine and the nurse isn’t even allowed to hand out Tums? Also, what is a friend supposed to do when he has medicine that can help a sick friend but they are “not allowed to share medicine with other students?” Marijuana isn’t being passed from student to student on campus. It’s ibuprofen, Midol, Tums, and cough drops. They are being used to relieve pain and cold symptoms. This drug policy has created a problem for students that could easily have been avoided if the district took a little more time to think about its student’s daily lives.

Photo courtesy of thesmarterwallet.com

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