ellman 050724SPRINGFIELD – At the start of the 2025-2026 school year, all students in grades six through 12 would be required to learn about the dangers of fentanyl under a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman.

“Our youth represent our future, but also make up one of our most vulnerable populations,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “We need to educate students sooner rather than later on the prevalence of fentanyl in our communities and the severe, long-term detriment it has on perpetuating the ongoing opioid epidemic.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, a lethal dose of fentanyl is smaller than a drop of water. Opioids, including fentanyl, heroin and other drugs, are involved in 70% of fatal drug overdoses.

Currently, Illinois high school students enrolled in a state-mandated health course are required to learn about the dangers of fentanyl and fentanyl contamination. Ellman’s measure would expand this education requirement to all students in grades six through 12, ensuring students learn at an earlier age about the dangers of fentanyl and how to respond to an overdose.

“Fentanyl awareness begins with understanding the deadly outcomes of even taking one pill,” said Ellman. “Most of our youth are in good health, but it is important to educate them about the life-threatening nature of fentanyl to prevent future misuse.”

House Bill 4219 passed the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday and heads to the full Senate for consideration.