STATE HOUSE –Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston,
Providence) and Rep. William W. O’Brien’s (D-Dist. 54, North Providence)
legislation (2018-S 2182
/ 2018-H 7987)
that requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to
incorporate substance abuse and suicide prevention education into the health
education curriculum was passed by the General Assembly tonight.
“Almost every day, we are confronted with yet another tragedy
concerning our children resulting from suicide or drug overdoses and this trend
must end. This legislation will give our kids the proper tools and
education to protect themselves, their families and their classmates from the
suffering that results from suicide and drug abuse,” said Senator Miller.
“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.
The legislation states that the Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education shall incorporate, in consultation with the Department of
Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, 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.
The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.