Codey bill to strengthen substance abuse prevention efforts in schools is signed into law

TRENTON, NJ — Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Richard Codey that aims to ensure that substance abuse instruction in public schools incorporates the most current, evidence-based standards and practices was signed into law Sept. 6, according to a release from Codey’s office.

“Our schools are responsible for teaching our children about drugs, their negative effects and how to avoid them, but they must do so using evidence-based practices and up-to-date information,” Codey, who represents parts of Essex and Morris counties, said in the press release. “Reviewing what our schools are teaching our kids about substance abuse is necessary to ensure effective prevention efforts.”

Under the law, S-372, the Department of Education is required to conduct a review of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in comprehensive health and physical education, in consultation with the Division of Addiction Services in the Department of Human Services, to make sure that students are receiving effective prevention education.

The DOE is also required to issue a report on its review within 120 days and propose any necessary revisions to the state Board of Education within 12 months of the report’s submission. The report will include methodology used, the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum standards, and the extent to which they incorporate the most recent, evidence-based practices.

“Recent years have brought an alarming surge in heroin and prescription drug abuse among youth across New Jersey and the nation,” Codey said. “By proactively addressing substance abuse and addiction in a way that takes into account the latest trends and current prevention methods, we can make a difference and begin to reverse this epidemic.”

The law takes effect immediately.