ellman 041923SPRINGFIELD – High school students may soon be required to learn about the dangers of fentanyl thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman.

“The opioid epidemic has devastated our communities, leaving behind a trail of chaos,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “The efforts to make our communities safer started with the circulation of naloxone and other lifesaving medications. Now we must expand our efforts to education.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, opioid overdoses in Illinois increased 33% between 2019 and 2020. The total opioid deaths in the state in 2020 was 2,944. According to the CDC, opioid use and fatalities among minors aged 14-18 increased 109% between 2020 and 2021.

House Bill 3924 seeks to combat this risk by specifically requiring all high school students enrolled in a state-required health course to learn about the dangers of fentanyl and fentanyl contamination.

“Educating our most vulnerable – our children – on the ways fentanyl can easily disrupt the life they know and have worked hard to create will undoubtedly help curb this epidemic,” said Ellman. “High school students are already required to learn about the negative impacts of drug use. Adding educational content on the harmful effects of fentanyl is an appropriate update to high school health class that can increase awareness and potentially save lives.”

House Bill 3924 passed the Senate Education Committee and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.