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Saving Young Lives Through Substance Abuse Education

SDCOE has been focused on comprehensive substance abuse prevention education for decades, often working collaboratively with governmental and community organizations to ensure that districts and schools are connected to partners that can assist in their prevention, intervention, and treatment efforts.

“We believe it’s in the best interest of young people and family members to be informed and have the tools they need to make smart choices impacting their own wellness,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold.

Members of the Safety, Well-Being, and Student Engagement team currently provide assemblies and classroom presentations to schools across the county about the dangers of fentanyl, marijuana, and other drugs, and encourage schools to continue the conversation by providing additional information and lesson plans from local and federal sources.

SDCOE has also been working over the past several years to assist schools in obtaining free naloxone, the opioid-reversal drug, for their campuses and offers training on how to administer the drug.

There has been no legal requirement for schools to provide substance abuse prevention education since 2009, which is why SDCOE has been working with local leaders to change state law.

The County Board of Supervisors took a step to support this effort when they recently passed a motion directing the county to work with education officials and the California State Legislature to require substance abuse prevention, specifically around fentanyl, in the classroom for students. The county is also now looking at increasing distribution locations and training for parents and students on naloxone, the opioid-reversal drug, and exploring opportunities for additional funding to support on-campus drug and alcohol awareness programs.

“SDCOE is deeply committed to the success and well-being of every child,” Gothold said. “To accomplish this goal, we need a comprehensive, community-based approach to mental and physical health.”

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