Superior Schools No Longer Providing Over-the-Counter Medications

Baihly Warfield
Updated: January 02, 2020 10:28 PM

The Superior School District will no longer provide students with over-the-counter medications. 


District officials say the opioid crisis is one reason for the shift. They say they don't want to teach students that if they are in pain, they should just take a pill. 

"We do see a lot of kids that come in for, you know, 'Oh, I have a headache,' or, 'Oh, my tooth hurts.' And they right away will just say, 'I want Tylenol or ibuprofen,'" Coordinator of Health Services Brynn Larrabee said. "Well, there's other alternatives to that and things that we'd like to try before we go straight to a medication." 

It was already in the Superior Schools handbook that they do not provide over-the-counter medications. But schools were still stocking Tylenol, ibuprofen, Tums and Benadryl. 

As of Jan. 2, though, the nurse's offices will no longer do that. If parents want their kids to have the option to take something, they will have to purchase it and fill out a medication authorization form. 

"Our goal is that parents are more a part of the decision-making when it comes to pain medication and administration of medicine," Superintendent Amy Starzecki said. 

Nurses will offer alternatives like hot packs, cold packs, rest, or even just a glass of water. 

Larrabee is new to the Superior School District. She said when she arrived and found out the eight schools she would oversee still offered over-the-counter drugs, she checked with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and found it's not common to do that anymore. 

It's also expensive. She estimated one trip to restock the nurse's office would be around $400. 

The main concern she's heard from parents involves not stocking Benadryl for allergic reactions.

"Most of the kids in the district that we know of that have allergies, parents already provide an EpiPen if it's severe and then the Benadryl if it's needed for minor reaction," Larrabee said. "So that was the concern: What if there's a minor reaction and we don't have anything to give? However, my nurses do have everything they need to be able to respond to an allergic reaction."

She hopes not offering over-the-counters may decrease visits to the nurse's office during the school day. 


Baihly Warfield

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