Monthly Archives: October 2020

Community Blog

Pharmacies’ Time to Mitigate Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children is Long Overdue

Written by Lily McIntyre, Lisvette Batista, Julian Balkcom, Ilona Eaton, Lily Kurtz, Michelle Liu, Lily McIntyre, and Olivia Smith

Approximately 8,986 children and adolescents died from opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2016, and these numbers are growing (Devitt). Opioid strength has increased immensely in recent years in drugs such as codeine and methadone, yet pharmacies still sell these opioids without visibly displaying child-safe cabinet locks. Well-known pharmacies like CVS and Rite-Aid take a controversial stance against tobacco products by not selling them, yet these same pharmacies won’t stand for the safety of young children by visibly selling these locks.

More and more children accidentally ingest medication partly because prescription bottles are “child-resistant,” which means that “the packaging meets a standard that requires it to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open within a reasonable time, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly” (Safe Kids Worldwide). However, resistant packaging is insufficient, as a recent study found that children aged three to five could open child-resistant bottles in seconds (Safe Kids Worldwide). According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines, a package is deemed “child-resistant” as long as 80% of children are unable to open the package in 5 minutes (Fitzwater). Therefore, a package labeled “child-resistant” can still be opened by about 20% of children.

In addition to the ineffectiveness of child-resistant bottles, parents are not implementing safe storage practices. In a study conducted with 681 households, in which a guardian using prescription opioids lived with children under seven, only 32.6% of adults self-reported using safe storage practices (McDonald et al).  Some parents falsely assume that their young children know to stay away from prescription medicine; as a result, one third of parents believe that safely storing their drugs does not matter as long as their children are supervised (Safe Kids Worldwide). Cabinet locks provide a much safer solution: they require a lock combination or a key to open, making it more difficult for a child to access prescriptions.

How can parents lock up opioids when there are no drawer locks being openly sold at the counter of pharmacies? Massachusetts state law requires pharmacies to display a sign near the counter telling customers that locks are sold; however, the signs only need to be four by five inches in size (Massachusetts). Because of the signs’ diminutive size, individuals are virtually unaware that these locks are available in their local pharmacies.

Pharmacies must offer simple safety options for parents, guardians, and all prescription users, especially given that prior testing has proven that “child-resistant” bottles are not effective enough to keep children safe from accidental ingestion. Moving forward, pharmacies must sell child safety locks at a visible location at the counter. While education about safe storage of opioids is important, it is insufficient without making these locks accessible to the public. Pharmacies can take simple measures to save many innocent children. The time for pharmacies to mitigate their effects of the opioid crisis is long overdue. Our children’s lives are at stake.


References

Devitt, Michael. “New Research Finds Rise in Pediatric Deaths From Opioids.” American Academy of Family Physicians. 18 Jan. 2019, https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20190118pedopioids.html

Fitzwater, Travis. “Child-Resistant Is Not Child-Proof.” The Missouri Pharmacy Blog, 14 Oct. 2009, http://www.thepharmacyblog.com/child-resistant-is-not-child-proof/.

“Massachusetts Legislature Homepage.” The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, malegislature.gov/. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXV/Chapter94C/Section21B

McDonald, Eileen M., et al. “Safe Storage of Opioid Pain Relievers Among Adults Living in Households With Children.” American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 139, no. 3, Mar. 2017, p. e20162161. pediatrics.aappublications.org, doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2161.

Safe Kids Worldwide. “Safe Medicine Storage: Recent Trends and Insights for Families and Health Educators.” 2018. PDF File. https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/safe_medicine_storage-march_2018.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Pharmacists: On The Front Lines. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pharmacists_brochure-a.pdf


This blog was written by Lily McIntyre, Lisvette Batista, Julian Balkcom, Ilona Eaton, Lily Kurtz, Michelle Liu, Lily McIntyre, and Olivia Smith; they were students last year in a CSHD course, Physical and Mental Health in Childhood.
Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: Russell Babcock

Throughout the school year, our Outreach Team highlights alumni of Eliot-Pearson who are excelling in their professional careers post-Tufts while continuing to maintain and spread the department’s mission.

This month, Outreach Coordinator Libby Hunt interviewed former Master’s student Russell Babcock about his time at E-P, his career trajectory, and his current role as the Head of Talent Development at StepStone Group in NYC.

Name: Russell Babcock

Graduation Year: 1995

Program/Track: Master’s Program; Applied track

Academic Advisor: Professor Charna Levine


LH: What did you do for your internship on the Applied track?

RB: I completed my community field placement and internship at an early childcare center in Cambridge. My responsibilities included assisting the Director with the day-to-day operations and working with the teachers to provide a safe, engaging, and welcoming environment for all children and families. I also utilized my child study knowledge and experience to collaborate with the teachers to plan lessons and design curriculum, set up learning /dramatic play areas, and help them to recognize teachable moments.

LH: What was your favorite course at E-P?

RB: This is a difficult question, one akin to asking a parent, “Which child is your favorite?” While my favorite course was the Seminar in Early Education, taught by Professor Sylvia Feinburg, other courses that I especially enjoyed and learned a great deal were: Culture and Learning: Issues for Multicultural Education taught by Professor Jayanthi Mistry & Advanced Personal and Social Development taught by Professor George Scarlett.

LH: How did your time at E-P influence your personal growth and the trajectory of your career?

RB: Immensely. I started my graduate studies 4 years after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, and working at an amazing non-public school in Oakland, CA, Lincoln Child Center.

My two memorable years at Tufts, which included incredible learning experiences as a GTA in Tufts Educational Day Care Center (TEDCC), have strengthened my appreciation for the importance of a high quality, early childhood education. My time at E-P increased my awareness of the use of collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches to understand and address inequities in schools and communicates as well as the importance of technology to help make learning more fun, inspiring, and meaningful.

The ability to integrate coursework from E-P and what I have learned through various certification programs has allowed me to have a non-traditional, interesting, and fun career path. My diverse skill set and ability to utilize what I learned in my psychology and applied child development courses has provided me with the opportunity to work in cities across and outside of the US, including Athens, Dublin, London, San Diego, and Tokyo.

My career post E-P includes working in the Education, Pharma, Insurance, and Finance industries. I have worked in small, private companies and well as large, global companies. One constant in my career trajectory is applying what I learned at E-P, whether during my time in the classroom learning alongside my fellow students, meeting with professors and TAs during office hours, observing children and teachers at the Children’s School, or working alongside Master teachers at TEDCC.

My ability to and appreciation for the uniqueness of every child and adult helped me to obtain my latest job. Interestingly, one of the firm’s founders shared that he was especially intrigued by my M.A. in Applied Child Development from Tufts during my interview.

LH: What are you currently doing?

RB: I am currently the Head of Talent Development at StepStone Group in NYC, a global private markets firm that provides customized investment and advisory solutions to many of the most sophisticated investors in the world. My mission is to cultivate a culture of creative, curious, collaborative, and continuous learners across 13 countries and 19 locations.

I am responsible for the firm’s global learning strategy and am leading an L&D Council to determine how to best develop the competencies needed (e.g., creative problem solving, growth mindset, leadership, teamwork) today and in the near future. Another key responsibility is to upskill and reskill our people as quickly and effectively as possible, utilizing technology, relevant and engaging content, and multiple training modalities.

I, as many people have during the global pandemic, am actively involved with providing our employees with COVID-19 specific resources. These include virtual trainings and other information from the perspectives of Work, Family/Roommates, and Well-Being. I am currently collaborating with Professor Marina Bers to deliver a webinar to StepStone families with young children. Professor Bers will provide the families with helpful resources to support their child’s development and enhance their virtual learning experiences.

I am also active in my firm’s global D&I efforts, which includes leading focus groups and collaborating with my HR colleagues to improve how we source, interview, hire, and develop our diverse employees.

LH: In what ways do you use your degree from Eliot-Pearson in your current work?

RB: What do all adults have in common? At sometime in their lives they were children and went through various stages (e.g., cognitive, social and emotional) of childhood. The pedagogy that I learned at E-P is easily transferable to working with and teaching adults. I have drawn upon the teachings and applied experience opportunities from E-P as an IT Business Analyst and Project Manager, L&D Consultant and Supervisor, and now as the Head of Talent Development at a successful, global firm.

I use my degree every day, whether I am working directly with children and their families in extracurricular activities or indirectly with colleagues who may or may not have children. I regularly draw upon Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Developmental Theory, Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory, and Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory as I integrate sound early childhood practices, such as good interpersonal interactions and assessments, into my learning and development activities.

LH: Do you have any advice or words for current E-P students?

RB: Savor your time at E-P and get to know the amazing faculty, knowledgeable staff, and diverse students. The rich learning experiences, strong relationships and numerous, positive memories will last you a lifetime.

After graduation, give back to E-P by volunteering your time and pledging a monetary gift to support the many wonderful programs and scholarships that E-P offers.

Stay in touch with each other via the E-P alumni listserv, Tufts Alumni Association, Jumbo Career Network, LinkedIn, et cetera.

Continue to, in whatever career path you choose and wherever life takes you, make a positive impact on the lives of children and families in diverse communities.

Stay safe and well. Go Jumbos!

LH: Anything else you’d like to share?

RB: The best thing about my time at E-P was meeting Kathleen Mohrle, M.A.T. 1996. We recently celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary and are blessed with two wonderful children. Karina Rose is a sophomore and aspiring writer and Ryan Ming is an 8th grader who is interested in political science.