COLUMBUS –State Representative Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) applauded the passage of her opioid curriculum bill, House Bill 367, from the House yesterday. House Bill 367 will require the health curriculum of each school district to include instruction on the dangers of prescription opioid abuse.
Since 2007, the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio has been drug overdose. In a recent study of 7th through 12th graders that used prescription opioids, 35 percent thought that pain pills were safer than other street drugs.
“I’ve heard from many Ohioans who agree that the best way to avoid opioid abuse is through prevention,” said Rep. Driehaus. “Ohio already requires health classes to cover things like nutrition and alcohol abuse, so it would not be difficult to also address the dangers of opioids – especially since many students have already been exposed to opioids after a sports injury or surgery.”
Opioids are usually prescribed to relieve pain often after medical and surgical procedures. Modern opioids include drugs such as Vicodin, Kadian, Avinza, OxyContin, and Percocet – all of which can be found in many homes and can be highly addictive when used improperly.
To help school districts with this curriculum, HB 367 also requires the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team to make recommendations for instruction in prescription opioid abuse prevention and submit them to the Ohio Department of Education no later than July 1, 2014. Once received, HB 367 requires ODE to publish the recommendations on their website making them available to school districts, parents, and students.