SPRINGFIELD – High school students may soon be required to learn about the dangers of fentanyl thanks to an action sponsored by State Senator Laura Elman.
“The opioid epidemic has devastated our communities, leaving a trail of chaos in its wake,” said Elman (D-Naperville). Efforts to make our communities safer began with the circulation of naloxone and other life-saving drugs. Now we must expand our efforts in the field of education.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, opioid overdoses in Illinois increased 33% between 2019 and 2020. Total opioid deaths in the state in 2020 were 2,944. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid use and deaths rose among Minors ages 14-18 increased by 109% between 2020 and 2021.
House Bill 3924 seeks to combat this risk by requiring all high school students enrolled in a state-required health course to learn about the risks of fentanyl and fentanyl contamination.
“Educating the most vulnerable – our children – about the ways fentanyl can so easily disrupt the lives they know and have worked so hard to create will undoubtedly help reduce this epidemic,” Elman said. “High school students are already required to learn about the negative effects of drug use. Adding educational content about the harmful effects of fentanyl is an appropriate update to a high school health class that can raise awareness and potentially save lives.”
Bill 3924 passed the Senate Education Committee and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.