CHARLESTON, WV (NEWS RELEASE) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey praised his office’s involvement in legislation that requires county boards of education to implement opioid awareness and prevention programs into their curriculum.
House Bill 2195, signed Wednesday by the Governor, uses opioid language set forth by the Attorney General’s Office to educate students across the state.
“This move is crucial to building a better foundation for West Virginia’s future,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Teaching students about the dangerous, and at times deadly, consequences of using opioids will help curb our state’s epidemic.”
The Attorney General requested 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 the Attorney General 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, vigorous enforcement of consumer protection laws, increased funding to fight substance abuse, multistate partnerships, investments in new technologies to enhance enforcement, drug incinerators and drop boxes to dispose of unwanted/expired prescriptions, engagement with the faith-based community and a best practices toolkit endorsed by more than 25 national and state stakeholders that is designed to dramatically reduce opioid use.