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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2016 12:59 PM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship -- Creating a School-Based Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Program
When the House convenes the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, I will introduce a legislative proposal, which I offered (but withdrew) as an amendment to both SB1367 and SB1368; opioid proposals considered by the House last October. This proposal would create the School-Based Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Program.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some children as young as 12 are abusing drugs. Other organizations put the age of drug experimentation among children to as young as 10. As once reported in the Journal of American Medical Association, Factors that contribute to the emergence of substance abuse in the pediatric population are multifactorial. Behavioral, emotional, and environmental factors that place children at risk for the development of substance abuse may be remediated through prevention and intervention programs that use research-based, comprehensive, culturally relevant, social resistance skills training and normative education in an active school-based learning format.” The younger a child starts to abuse and misuse controlled substances and prescription drugs, the higher the risks of serious health consequences, adult substance abuse and eventual addiction. Obviously, the earlier we initiate children to the perils of illegal substance use, the more children we can save from a life of addiction.

Accordingly, my legislative proposal would require the Department of Education to work with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to provide guidance and recommendations designed to assist school districts with the development and implementation of research-based curriculum guidelines for an effective age-appropriate, school-based program of instruction in substance abuse prevention and intervention. Each school district would be required to provide each school student mandatory instruction in substance abuse prevention and intervention every school year in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. School districts would be required to integrate instruction in substance abuse prevention into their health courses or, if health is not offered in a specific grade, in any other appropriate curriculum required by the State Board of Education. As delineated in my proposal, the program would include instruction in both controlled substance and prescription drug abuse and misuse, including illicit drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine; and opioids.

I thank you in advance for joining me as a sponsor of this most important legislative proposal. If you have any questions, please contact my office at (717) 772-9850.

Introduced as HB1190