The arrival of the new year brings with it new laws that could impact your life. In several states lawmakers passed bills aimed at one of the biggest challenges facing our nation – the opioid epidemic. Here’s a look at some of the new legislation:
Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, all Illinois school districts will be required to teach about fentanyl in health class. Students will learn about legal and illegal uses of fentanyl, how often and why some drugs are laced with the potent synthetic opioid, and how to spot and prevent an overdose.
A new state law requires on-duty law enforcement officers in Maine to carry naloxone or have it in their cruiser. The drug can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if it’s used in a timely manner.
According to FOX 23, the sponsor of the bill claimed that if Maine would have enacted the law a year ago, it could have saved more than 700 lives.
Oregon has introduced several new laws to address the opioid crisis. One law requires public health and education officials to develop a curriculum educating students about the dangers of opioids. Another mandates that hospitals, addiction treatment centers and similar facilities provide patients seeking opioid abuse treatment with two doses of naloxone upon discharge. The bill also protects people who administer opioid overdose reversal medication from lawsuits. The third law will make it easier for inmates to access addiction programs and different types of treatment. The law defines substance use disorders as a chronic illness for which treatment is necessary while in prison.
People convicted of distributing fentanyl in California face stricter criminal penalties.
A new law mandates an automatic addition of three years to the original sentence for selling or distributing more than one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of fentanyl. Penalties continue to increase with weight, topping out at an additional 25 years for trafficking in weights exceeding 80 kilograms.
Urine drug tests conducted on patients in hospital emergency departments to diagnose medical conditions now must include screening for xylazine and fentanyl. If a patient tests positive, hospital staff are required to provide that person with resource information and educational materials outlining the effects and risks of these substances when injected or ingested. Tests detecting a specific amount of these substances must be reported to the state Department of Health, with patient identification information excluded.