TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Senate Health Chairman Joseph F. Vitale to 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 is now law.
The law, 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.
“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). “We have to make sure that our student athletes, cheerleaders and their parents are educated about the dangers of opioids and the potential for abuse. This law will help to ensure that happens and, in turn, will boost our prevention efforts.”
Under the law, school districts and nonpublic schools that participate in interscholastic sports or cheerleading programs will be 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.
“The misuse of prescribed opioids, which can lead to addiction, is having devastating effects on our families and communities. Providing students and families with the tools to start the conversation about the risks of opioid abuse in the event of a sports injury could prevent a problem from starting,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “The fact is that knowledge is power when it comes to fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic that is claiming the lives of our residents and youth, and education must continue to be a leading part of our efforts.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 44 people die in the US each day from an overdose of painkillers prescribed by doctors. In 2014, 200 million recipes of opium derivatives were made in the US.
The bill was signed by the governor Friday.