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A Senate Resolution Calling on Schools to Adopt a Policy to Address Student Abuse of Prescription Opioids Also Clears Senate Education Committee

 TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Senate Health Chairman Joseph F. Vitale that would require the Department of Education to develop an educational fact sheet for distribution to parents of student-athletes and cheerleaders concerning the use and misuse of prescription opioids cleared the Senate Education Committee today.

The bill, S-2402, requires the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, to develop an educational fact sheet that provides information concerning the use and misuse of opioid drugs in the event that a student-athlete or cheerleader is prescribed an opioid for a sports-related injury.

“Each year, more Americans die from drug overdoses than in traffic accidents, and more than three out of five of these deaths involve an opioid,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Ensuring that our student athletes, cheerleaders and their parents are educated about the dangers of opioids and the potential for abuse can help boost prevention efforts.”

Under the bill, school districts and nonpublic schools that participate in interscholastic sports or cheerleading programs are required to distribute the fact sheet annually to the parents or guardians of student-athletes and cheerleaders, and to obtain a signed acknowledgement of the receipt of the fact sheet by the students and their parents or guardians.

“Providing our students and families with the tools to start the conversation about the risks of opioid abuse in the event of a sports injury will help beat the problem before it even begins,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “Knowledge is power when it comes to fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic that is claiming the lives of our residents and youth, and prevention education must continue to be a leading part of our efforts.”

The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

A Senate Resolution, SR-59, urging school districts and nonpublic schools to adopt a policy to address the abuse of prescription opioids by students also cleared the committee today. The resolution, sponsored by Senators Bob Gordon and Shirley K. Turner, follows recommendations by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Medical Advisory Committee to adopt such a policy as schools can play a vital role in educating students on the dangers of opioid addiction and can refer students for appropriate interventions under existing State law.

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