Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Putting the "Pharm" in the Farm Show

This past weekend was the Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Missouri. If you are unfamiliar with what a farm show is, I will describe it for you. A farm show is held in a large exhibition hall and it is a conglomeration of everything Ag. Several Ag companies come here to promote their products and services. There are equipment dealers, tractors on display, livestock chutes, fence companies, clothing retailers, seed companies, chemical companies, Ag magazines, GPS technology and tutorials, mowers, etc. In essence, if it is related to agriculture then it is on display at the farm show.

I have been going to farm shows since I could walk. It was a family event when I was a kid and one that was usually a lot of fun. We got to climb up in the big tractors and pretend like we were driving them, and we had fun at the displays that were catered to children. I have had the pleasure of going to a few farm shows with Adam over the years as well. Attending this event as an adult is not as much fun as it was when I was a kid. To provide a proper comparison for you, the farm show is equivalent to a woman taking her husband shopping at the mall. Usually after 30 minutes the husband has found a bench to sit on as they wait for their wives to return from snagging all of the good deals in store. The farm show is a farmer's mall, only the stuff for sale has a much higher sticker price than any article of clothing I could ever buy. A farm wife can usually go through everything in the building in about 30 minutes, but it takes the husbands at least a few hours to make it through all of the aisles of displays. They stop and chat with everyone and see what freebies the companies are handing out. They acquire a few more hats for their collection and bring home a bag full of goodies from this event.

My attendance at the farm show this year did not involve following my husband through the rows of farm machinery and sales booths. I attended the farm show as a pharmacy student and my fellow classmates and I were putting the "pharm" in the farm show by promoting Generation Rx and the Prescription Take Back program. Our booth was on display in the Health and Safety Round-Up exhibit of the farm show. In this section of the arena people could get hearing tests done, learn about farm safety, disaster preparedness, etc.

Generation Rx is the term used to describe today's youth who are using prescription drug medications to get high. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, every day approximately 2,500 young people between 12 and 17 years of age abuse prescription painkillers for the first time. America's biggest drug problem is not on the street...it's in our medicine cabinets. In fact, prescription medications abuse is the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. More Americans abuse prescription medications than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, and an astounding one in five teens abuses a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. (Taken from www.pharmacists.com) Our goal at the farm show today was to educate youth, their parents, and the elderly about the dangers of prescription medication abuse and what they can do to prevent it.

The students and faculty from UMKC were able to visit with a number of kids and adults about this issue and also how easy it is to confuse things that are safe to eat with things that can cause harm and be poisonous. We had a game set up at our booth comparing items that are safe to ingest with items that are not. The display showed how difficult it is to distinguish between the two when they are in unmarked containers. A few examples of the items being compared were sweet tarts and Tums antacids, Excedrine pills and Hot Tamales, maple syrup and motor oil, and caffeine pills and Spree candies.

Ethan, Rachel, Alaina and I in front of our booth.

A participant who was trying to distinguish
between what was a poison and what could be
safely eaten.

Rachel visiting with a couple about how easy it is to
confuse something that is safe to ingest with something
that is not and why it is important to keep medications
out of children's reach and in their properly marked

The Generation Rx display that Rachel and Alaina worked
very hard on. They did a great job, and the board provided
a lot of quick facts for people to see when they stopped by
our booth.

Adam even took a turn at the game.

Rachel, Dr. Cochran and I.


  1. Very cool. I think is great that you group was reaching out to rural communities.

  2. Thanks Crystal! It was great to visit with all the patrons and combine my two passions! Rural communities do often lack access to health care. We are working on trying to reduce that gap and provide access to people in rural communities. One way to do this is to have a presence at an event like this because people are driving into the city from rural areas to come to the farm show.

    The goal for next year is to have a large enough booth space where we can do diabetes, and blood pressure screenings as well as heartburn awareness education. This will reach out to a several people who don't often go to the doctor unless they are really sick. This will also provide the opportunity will to visit with people about their medications if they have a chronic condition.


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