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6/27/2017 Rep. O’Brien and Sen. Satchell bill that requires drug abuse and suicide prevention in health education curriculum heads to governor for signature
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Sen. Adam J. Satchell’s (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) legislation (2017-H 5177A / 2017-S 0306) that requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to consider incorporating substance abuse and suicide prevention education into the health education curriculum now heads to Governor Raimondo’s desk for her signature after passing both the House of Representatives and the Senate tonight.

“There is a tragic epidemic of our children abusing drugs and committing suicide and it is imperative that we give them the tools and education to not only protect themselves, but also those children around them as well.  We cannot fail our children any longer and this bill will ensure that our kids know not only about the dangers of this behavior but more importantly, the signs and triggers that cause this destructive behavior to manifest,” said Representative O’Brien.

“Giving kids age-appropriate information about the dangers of substance abuse and how to recognize and get help for mental health struggles could save lives. Young people face many pressures that make it easy to fall into the traps posed by drugs or alcohol. Many experience isolation and depression, and don’t know how to talk to anyone about those feelings or how to get help. These are issues kids face in every community, and kids everywhere should be taught how to recognize such problems and to get help. Solid education will also help eradicate the stigma that keeps people from seeking assistance,” said Senator Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), who works as a guidance counselor in the West Warwick School Department.

The legislation states that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall consider, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, the incorporation of substance abuse prevention and suicide prevention into the health education curriculum. Substance abuse prevention is defined as the implementation of evidence-based, age appropriate programs, practices, or curricula related to the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.  Suicide prevention is defined as the implementation of evidence-based appropriate programs, practices, or curricula related to mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903