SCOUTStrong Be MedWise award encourages responsible use of medicine

SCOUTStrong-Be-MedWise-award-patchHere’s a scary stat: Each year, roughly 10,000 children and teens require emergency room visits because of errors in self-medicating.

Worse yet, surveys show that 22 percent of teens take over-the-counter medicine without asking an adult.

Something must be done, and the Boy Scouts of America and National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) are stepping up.

As first reported on Scouting Newsroom, this week the BSA and NCPIE launched the SCOUTStrong Be MedWise award, which encourages young people to learn about the responsible use of medicine.

Scouts and Venturers who earn the award will learn about the danger of misusing medicines by not following the directions on the label. Once they’ve done that, they’ll receive a nice-looking patch (with an owl on it!). Here’s what you need to know: 

Who is it for?

This activity and award is recommended for Boy Scouts and Venturers ages 11 to 17; Cub Scouts are probably too young for this discussion. This award is designed to complement existing Boy Scouting and Venturing programming.

How is it earned?

This award’s training curriculum consists of four lessons that could be reviewed at the start of a unit meeting, taking no more than 12 to 15 minutes each. The program is self-paced, which allows the unit leader to determine how quickly it is completed.

The SCOUTStrong Be MedWise award is earned through these steps:

  1. Review the Curriculum: Have your unit review each of the four lessons in this curriculum. Go to the resources section on this page and download the PDF files for the leader manual and lessons. This curriculum has been prepared specifically for ages 11-17, and each lesson must be followed specifically as written.
  2. Complete the Exercises: Where applicable, have all unit participants successfully complete the activity and/or supplemental exercises for the corresponding SCOUTStrong Be MedWise lesson.

What will Scouts and Venturers learn?

Upon completion of the SCOUTStrong Be MedWise curriculum, youth will be able to do the following:

  • Understand what prescription and OTC medicines are, and the ways they are the same and different.
  • Learn how to use medicines safely.
  • Know what’s on the Drug Facts label.

What about the patch and certificate?

  • To download a certificate you can print, click here.
  • To order your SCOUTStrong Be MedWise patch, click here.


    • Why not? Good Scouting gets resources from everywhere. Since you can freely purchase the patch and download the certificates, you can use them for what you wish. Even the fleur de lis on the patch is generic Scouting not BSA.

      (This is just one person’s opinion. I hold no authority in this area.)

  1. As a probation and parole officer for adult felons, and licensed and credentialed counselor and substance abuse professional, I cannot overstate the epidemic that prescription drug misuse has become.

    This is a problem that had is genesis with the pharmaceutical companies pushing their product through the mass media: TV, magazines, etc. “Can’t sleep? Take this! Feeling depressed? Take that! Ask your doctor about nnnn!” Physicians have misdiagnosed conditions, and over-prescribed medications… Then we get them home… We take antibiotics until we feel better, and then stop taking them, only to make medication-resistant bacteria. Worse yet, maybe Mom has a terrible headache, and takes some of Dad’s hydrocodone, from when he had his wisdom teeth removed, last year… No big deal right? But our kids are watching… They are talking at school… Medications for ADHD are pulverized, and snorted… Opioid analgesics (pain meds) are sold for high… Cold remedies are “smurfed” for methamphetamine manufacturers…

    Before long, it gets to expensive to buy the pharmaceutical pain meds… Heroin is half the price, and gives a faster high, especially if shot-up. The ADHD pills also get more expensive, but meth is even stronger…

    And it’s all too late… an addict has been born… it’s an insidious problem…

  2. Ok as a mom the sentence that bothered me was this is not for the Cubs. This training needs to start there also. Not how to take drugs on your own but what can happen. There needs to be cub equivalent .

  3. There are lots of Cubs that take meds and are very responsible about taking their meds. Sometimes better than adults. I feel this should be available to the Cubs as well. There are some of those younger guys at are with the help of the parents and leaders, could be ready to do take on some of the more responsible things. The kids with Autism, ADHD, allergies, and other daily meds for a variety of health problems, they know more about taking meds than most adults give them credit for. Sometimes it could be a life or death issue for them, or even just trying to fit into the “norm” so they don’t stick out and draw attention to themself.

  4. As the parent of a scout who takes a conteolled substance for Adhd i think this is very needed. I plan to suggest it to our SM next week.

  5. Sad that this is not for Cub Scouts as well and a very sad statement that you don’t think that kids can’t understand a conversation about medicine. Really feels like Boy Scouts has their head in the sand if they don’t think that Cub Scouts are exposed to medicines. Besides the kids who take medications themselves, so many of cub scout aged kids live with parents and grand parents that take medications. Or probably of even greater need, they VISIT people who take meds, who may not have them as safely secured as homes where the cubs live.

  6. It’s quite possible they are working on a program for the Cub Level and it’s not done yet. Since they have revamped the Cub Program (my son is in a Troop for 5 yrs now) is there anywhere else they talk about medicine in the program

Join the conversation