Sen. Ellman

SPRINGFIELD – High school students could soon be required to learn about the dangers of fentanyl thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman.

“Increasing awareness through education is an effective way to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “Educating high school students, hopefully before they are exposed to fentanyl, could mean all the difference between a dependency on addictive opioids and connection to a non-addictive medication.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, a lethal dose of fentanyl is smaller than a drop of water. Opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs such as hydrocodone or oxycodone, are involved in 70% of fatal drug overdoses.

Under current law, elementary and high school health classes are required to discuss consumer health, personal health habits, alcohol and drug use, but are not required to receive specific instruction on fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.

House Bill 3924 requires all Illinois high school students enrolled in a required health course to learn about the dangers of fentanyl and fentanyl contamination.

“Fentanyl, even in small doses, can be deadly,” said Ellman. “Educating young people on the dangers of opioid use will undoubtedly save lives. When we educate young people on the risks of all drug use, including the use of opiates such as fentanyl, we are exercising a modernized approach of health education.”

House Bill 3924 passed the Senate Thursday.