With an increasing number of youth taking prescribed medications, leaders need some basic tools and guidance for helping youth use their prescriptions safely. The BSA understands that leaders, no matter how diligent, may not know or understand every health-related issue of the youth members in their unit. Remember that proper use of a prescription is the responsibility of the individual taking it, or that individual’s parent or guardian. Good planning, preparedness, and knowledge are necessary for keeping youth safe and healthy.
One essential tool is Medication Use in Scouting, No. 680-036, available at www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/guidelines-policies/. We encourage you to review this document periodically. It has eight basic elements:
- AHMR (Annual Health and Medical Record). A critical component to protecting a youth participant is knowing that he or she is physically prepared for a Scouting event. A completed AHMR for each individual gives leaders and providers the information they need to begin treatment in an emergency. It is important that ALL medications the individual uses are listed on the form.
- Plan. A medication use plan should also be developed if a leader will be involved in managing a youth’s medication during an event.
- Supervision. Based on the plan, there should be clear agreement on who is helping the youth member with their medications—especially when the youth is not able to self-administer or when special circumstances exist.
- Labeling. Medications must be accurately labeled to prevent errors.
- Storage. The plan should include storage for all high-risk medications and those with special requirements like refrigeration.
- Emergency Medication. Make sure that youth with asthma inhalers or epinephrine auto-injectors have what they need when they need it. They should know how to use the medicines, and they should report the use to an adult.
- Nonprescription Medications. Ensure clear guidance is in place for all nonprescription medications that may be provided by adult leaders or kept by a youth member for use as needed.
- Accountability. One best practice, though not required, is to have documentation on hand for all stored medications that may be taken by youth.