Magazine article Drug Topics

Teen Drug Use Target of 'Smart Pill' Program

Magazine article Drug Topics

Teen Drug Use Target of 'Smart Pill' Program

Article excerpt

If you could take a pill that would make you smart for an hour every day, would you try it? asks a unique educational program pharmacists can use to help young people grapple with the issues of drug abuse.

The so-called "Smart Pill" educational scenario asks kids if they would try the imaginary drug and then moves through the unexpected problems they could encounter. Side effects are illustrated by the fact that after being smart for an hour, the kids will be stupid for another hour, which can lead to taking more pills to counteract the stupid phase. As the dose goes up, so does tolerance to the drug and so does the cost. The kids might have to lie or even steal to buy more and more of the pills. Before they know it, what started out as a good thing--being smart--may not look so good anymore.

The idea is not to preach to kids about right and wrong, or to scare them, or to urge them to "Just Say No," explained the program's originator, Kevin Hall, a Pharm.D. candidate who will graduate next month from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in Gainesville. The exercise is presented in nonjudgmental terms that kids can understand, talking about playing Nintendo, the pressure to keep up grades, hanging out with friends.

"Our program goes over very well with kids," said Hall. …

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