CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey applauds both the House of Delegates and the state Senate for passing legislation that will require county boards of education to implement opioid awareness and prevention programs into their curriculum.
House Bill 2195 uses opioid language set forth by the Attorney General’s office to educate students across the state.
The legislation passed the House in March and gained final passage April 6 with a Senate vote of 32-0. It now awaits the signature of Gov. Jim Justice.
“The passage of this bill is a step in the right direction when it comes to fighting the drug crisis in West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “Making sure that students of all ages have a better understanding of the opioid epidemic is crucial to building a better future for the Mountain State.”
Morrisey's office requested that HB 2195 include a requirement that sixth- through 12th-grade health classes include at least 60 minutes of instruction for each student on the dangers of opioid use, the addictive characteristics of opioids and safer alternatives to treat pain.
HB 2195 further requires drug rehabilitation specialists and law enforcement agencies to coordinate with school boards to implement age appropriate lessons, including those for elementary school students, on the impact of illegal drug and alcohol use.
Educating the state’s youth is one initiative through which Morrisey has sought to combat West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate. That includes last fall’s widely successful Kids Kick Opioids public service announcement contest, a recent collaboration with the WVU School of Nursing focused on educating eighth grade students and partnerships with high school athletic teams to reduce opioid use in treating injuries.
Other efforts include criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, multi-state initiatives, new technology, engagement with the faith-based community and a best practices toolkit endorsed by more than 25 national and state stakeholders.