MURFREESBORO— November 16-22 is Governor Haslam’s “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week”, and Rep. Bryan Terry, MD (R-Murfreesboro), a physician in the Tennessee General Assembly, kicked off the awareness week by teaching students about antibiotic resistance at Central Magnet School.
The week long initiative, promoted by the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, looks to bring awareness to the public about overuse of antibiotics and the effect on society. Central Magnet School offers a Biomedical Sciences class, taught by Pamela Stewart, that Dr. Terry addressed concerning antibiotic use awareness.
“Our class had been discussing antibiotic resistance and legislation,” said Stewart. “We knew Dr. Terry had worked with Central students on legislation before. He jumped at the opportunity to talk to our students and we were excited to hear him in our classroom.”
This past session, Rep. Terry worked with Allen Nichols and the Central Magnet School’s Contemporary Issues class to co-sponsor the Right to Try bill which passed unanimously in the House and has been signed into law by Governor Haslam. Right to Try would allow terminally ill patients the right to try medications that have passed Phase 1 of FDA trials and potentially give terminally ill patients life saving treatments in a timely manner. The Central Magnet students were the only high school students in the state to work with a legislator and have a bill co-sponsored on their behalf.
“Our children, grand children, and the next generation are why I am in office. Everything we do as legislators impacts their lives. They should be engaged in the political process and I am honored to help work with students,” stated Rep. Terry
Rep. Terry spoke to the students about overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Citing the Tennessee Department of Health, Dr. Terry noted that Tennessee’s antibiotic prescription rate is the third highest in the nation. Also, because of widespread misuse of antibiotics, the CDC lists antibiotic resistance among its top public health concerns.
“It isn’t just public policy, educational, or economic issues that impact the futures of these students, but health issues, as well. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance and the development of superbugs that can cause serious and life threatening infections. Parents, students, and even doctors must understand that misusing antibiotics today can impact the health of society in the future,” said Rep. Terry.
One can learn more about Get Smart About Antibiotics Week at the Tennessee Department of Health website.