Chairman of the House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Study Committee, Robert Cole Sprague (R-Findlay), announced that today House Bill 367 passed out of the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill was one of many pieces of legislation included in a package of bills the committee introduced after a thorough study of opioid addiction throughout Ohio.
HB 367 is an initiative to educate the youth of Ohio about opioids and their addictive properties. The bill requires each school district to include instruction on prescription opioid abuse prevention in their health curriculum. Because of the addictive qualities of prescription opioids, their links to heroin, and opioid addiction’s pervasiveness in Ohio, Representative Sprague and other members wanted to ensure that Ohio’s students will receive instruction on the topic.
Furthermore, similar instruction about nutrition, personal safety, alcohol, and drug abuse are already mandatory according to state law. Thus, the addition of opioid education to the curriculum would not be difficult or costly.
“After the study committee, we wanted to approach the opioid epidemic in three ways; prevent more people from becoming addicted, stop the diversion of opioid medications while keeping people alive, and make sure effective treatment is available,” said Rep. Sprague. “By bringing awareness to the issue in our schools and preventing the further abuse of opioids, this bill will have a positive impact on young Ohioans and their families.”
The bill mandates the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team to produce recommendations for this instruction and to submit them to the Department of Education.
The Ohio Senate will now consider House Bill 367.