Oregon, California lawmakers introduce bill to teach kids, teachers, parents dangers of fentanyl
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Oregon and California state leaders, including Representative Suzanne Bonamici, introduced a new bill called the Fentanyl Awareness For Children And Teens In School Act on Thursday.
The bill is designed protect students from fentanyl poisoning by educating kids, parents and teachers in schools across America.
“The bottom line is this legislation will save lives,” says Rep. Bonamici. “Awareness curriculum, like this should be available to students and families across the country.”
The bipartisan proposal would create a pilot grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to develop partnerships between local and state education, public health agencies and nonprofit organizations, helping them to to provide education, awareness and prevent the misuse of opioids.
The bill would also allow school health centers to use funding for naloxone.
Officials found that only 36% of teens across the country are aware of fentanyl is often used in fake pills.
The FACTS Act was inspired by the Beaverton School Districts Fake and Fentanyl Awareness Program which teaches kids about fentanyl in health class. The program was prompted after the district lost several students to fentanyl-related deaths in 2020 and 2021. BSD says they will be adding a lesson for high school students on how to recognize an overdose, and how to react to them.
Michele Stroh lost her son, 25-year-old Keaton Stroh, from a fentanyl overdose in 2020 and says she had no idea what fentanyl was and if she had better education on the matter, she would have had a better understanding. Stroh is also an Oregon City School District Board member and says in May, the district also implemented programs regarding fentanyl.
“With education comes understanding. What we found on the students surveys is that students aren’t understanding how deadly fentanyl actually is,” says Stroh. “We talked to them about how to administer Narcan, not to be afraid of it call for the help and make the effort.”
She says she is in favor of the bill, but the conversation starts at home.
“This is one of the hardest conversations to have and the severity of it, the more you have a candid conversation and not a parent coming down on you, conversation opens to them actually and asking more questions.”
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