How do you handle prescription medication on Scout trips?

Tuesday-TalkbackWrapped up in a weekend of camping, climbing or canoeing, a Scout could forget to take his prescription medication.

And that could be a problem.

In some packs, troops, teams, posts, ships or crews, a leader volunteers to make sure the Scouts or Venturers take medication at the appropriate time. But the BSA doesn’t require or necessarily recommend that. That’s a decision for the adult leader, the youth and the youth’s parent or guardian.

So what does your unit do about prescription medication on Scout trips?

Do leaders take on this responsibility, or are the Scouts and Venturers themselves responsible? If leaders agree to handle it, how do they ensure that medications are taken on time? If medication must be kept cold, how do you accomplish that on longer outings where refrigeration isn’t available?

For this Tuesday Talkback, please share your thoughts about those questions by leaving a comment below. 

What the BSA says

The BSA, for its part, leaves this responsibility to the person taking the medication and/or that person’s parent or guardian. However, a leader — “after obtaining all the necessary information” — could, if he or she chooses, take on the job of making sure a youth takes his or her medication at the appropriate time.

BSA camps may have their own policies that go further than this, and that’s fine. States may have laws that are even more limiting, and those supersede all other policies.

The full BSA policy comes from the Guide to Safe Scouting:

Prescription Medication
Taking prescription medication is the responsibility of the individual taking the medication and/or that individual’s parent or guardian. A leader, after obtaining all the necessary information, can agree to accept the responsibility of making sure a youth takes the necessary medication at the appropriate time, but the BSA does not mandate or necessarily encourage the leader to do so. Standards and policies regarding administration of medication may be in place at BSA camps. If state laws are more limiting than camp policies, they must be followed. The AHMR [Annual Health and Medical Record] also allows for a parent or guardian to authorize the administration of nonprescription medication to a youth by a camp health officer or unit leader, including any noted exceptions.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.