House Bill 3908 introduced by Representative Terry Wilson (R-TX20 – Williamson County) will require the implementation of fentanyl prevention awareness through curriculum-based educational tools for grades 6 through 12.
- Educational curriculum for grades 6 through 12.
- Distribution of the education is not subjected to only schools or school districts.
- The bill also associates fentanyl with suicide prevention.
- No less than 10 hours of annual education is required under Sec.38.040.
Current Bill Metrics:
- Terry Wilson, Author
- Referred to Public Education Committee
- General support by House and Senate members.
The Texas legislature recently introduced House Bill 3908, which aims to increase fentanyl prevention and drug poisoning awareness education for public school students in grades 6 through 12. The bill proposes that each school district annually provides a minimum of 10 hours of research-based instruction on the topic.
The instruction required by the bill includes the recognition of signs and symptoms of mental health issues, suicide prevention, the prevention of fentanyl abuse and addiction, awareness of local school and community resources, and health education that includes information about substance use and abuse.
The instruction curriculum may be provided by various entities, including public or private institutions of higher education, libraries, community service organizations, religious organizations, local public health agencies, and organizations employing mental health professionals.
The bill also amends Section 38.351 of the Education Code, allowing school districts to fulfill a requirement to implement a program in the area of substance abuse prevention and intervention by providing instruction related to youth substance use and abuse education under Section 38.040.
The bill will come into effect from the 2023-2024 school year. If it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, it will take immediate effect; otherwise, it will take effect on September 1, 2023.
Fentanyl and HB 3908:
The opioid epidemic has affected countless individuals and communities across the United States, with fentanyl being one of the most dangerous and deadly substances involved. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that is highly addictive and can cause fatal overdoses even in extremely small doses. 42% of pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2 mg of fentanyl, considered a potentially lethal dose (As of 2022, 99% of all illicit pills tested contained a lethal amount of fentanyl). By increasing awareness and providing prevention education among students, the bill aims to curb the rising number of drug-related deaths and substance abuse problems.
The House bill highlights the importance of education in addressing the issue of substance abuse and addiction. By providing students with the necessary knowledge and skills to recognize and prevent drug abuse and addiction, the bill seeks to empower them to make informed decisions and take steps to protect themselves and their peers from the dangers of substance abuse and overdose.
In the News:
The most recent young person to die of fentanyl poisoning is 16 year-old Sienna Vaughn of Plano, TX who died in February 2023. Additionally, there are over 11 news reports related to youth deaths caused by fentanyl poisoning across the state of Texas.
Recommendations for Texas Lawmakers:
Reach out to community organizations in your district regarding implementing fentanyl education.
Reach out to your school district regarding implementing fentanyl education.
Connect with stakeholders in your district about effective implementation of the educational curriculum.
Speak with your colleagues in both chambers. Inquire on fentanyl overdoses specific to their district and exchange ideas on this bill.
Propose improvement amendments to HB 3908 from community feedback and stakeholder input.
House Bill A3908 represents an important step in the state’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and raise awareness on the dangers of drug abuse and addiction among students and is vitally important to save future adolescent lives. By prioritizing fentanyl prevention and drug poisoning awareness education in schools, the bill has the potential to make a significant impact on the health and well-being of Texas communities.
Furthermore, the passage of the fentanyl prevention and drug poisoning awareness education bill by the state of Texas is a significant step toward preventing drug addiction and overdose among adolescents. The bill provides for the mandatory instruction of research-based information related to fentanyl prevention and drug poisoning awareness to students in grades 6 through 12. It is a commendable effort by the state legislature to address the growing concern of drug addiction and overdose among youths.
We are compelling lawmakers to support this vital piece of legislation during the Texas 88th Regular Legislative Session. We urge lawmakers to use this policy paper for debate, decision-making, community outreach, and future legislation.
- Texas House Representative, Terry Willson, District 20. Texas House of Representatives: Representative Wilson, Terry M.
- HB 3908, filed, 88th Texas Regular Legislative Session (2023): 88(R) HB 3908 – Introduced version (texas.gov)
- District 20, map (2023). m1.pdf (texas.gov)
- “Facts about Fentanyl,” the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (2021): Facts about Fentanyl (dea.gov)
- “Girl dies from fentanyl-laced painkiller, latest in wave of Texas teen deaths,” Washington Post (2023): Texas teen Sienna Vaughn dies of fentanyl as parents, politicians battle opioid overdose wave – The Washington Post
- Fentanyl deaths in Texas. News stories. (2023): Google News – Search