HARRISBURG – In his continuing efforts to fight the ongoing opioid crisis in Pennsylvania, Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) has successfully ensured that schools across the state will include opioid prevention strategies in school districts’ drug abuse curriculum. The requirement was included in the 2017-18 Public School Code, which became law over the weekend.
Under Kaufer’s House Bill 121
, which was amended into the Public School Code, beginning in the 2018-19 school year, instruction related to the prevention of opioid abuse, with an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic and the connection between prescription opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, including heroin, must be included into a school’s curriculum.
“This law will, in part, update substance abuse education in our schools to include new prevention programs,” Kaufer said. “With the opioid abuse crisis being as severe as it is across our state, our kids need be to educated on the risks and dangers that exist. I am very glad that this curriculum will be in place in our districts.”
To assist the schools, the departments of Education, Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs must jointly develop a model curriculum and post it on their websites. The curriculum must also be revised, when necessary, with the most current information. School districts are not required to use the model curriculum, but it can be used as a guide.
The departments will also develop in-service training programs for school districts. School districts must incorporate this training into their in-service training plans at least every three years, and this training will count toward teachers’ continuing professional education requirements.
Beginning Sept. 1, 2020, and by Sept. 1 every five years thereafter, the departments must report to the General Assembly a description of efforts to assist school districts in providing opioid abuse prevention instruction and on the previous year’s activities concerning efforts to develop and post the model curriculum and to develop and make available the in-service training. The report must include a description of efforts to develop and disseminate the curriculum and training, and an evaluation of its effectiveness.
For information about any state-related issue, contact Kaufer’s district office in Luzerne located at 161 Main St., by calling 570-283-1001. Information can also be found online at RepKaufer.com
Representative Aaron Kaufer
120th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin