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Assembly Panel OK’s Vainieri Huttle, Sumter & Mukherji Bill to Ensure Substance Abuse Education in Schools Includes Latest Evidence-Based Standards & Practices

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Shavonda Sumter and Raj Mukherji to ensure substance abuse education in New Jersey schools includes the most up-to-date information available was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-3713) requires the State Board of Education to conduct a review of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education to ensure that substance abuse instruction incorporates the most recent evidence-based standards and practices.

“How can we effectively reach young people about the perils of substance abuse if the information we are providing is outdated?” asked Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This review will help make sure that the education that our students are getting about substance abuse is reliable and useful.”

“Social pressures can make young people especially vulnerable to substance abuse,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “If we are going to beat these bad influences, then we must ensure that what we are teaching our kids about drug abuse is pertinent and backed by the prevailing evidence.”

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Young people often do not realize the dangers of substance abuse until it is too late,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Updating health and physical education curriculum requirements to ensure students are provided with current, evidence-based information about substance abuse and addiction can help deter this behavior and encourage those who might already be struggling to seek help.”

Under the bill, the state board would have to issue a report on the review within 120 days of the effective date of the bill. The report would have to include: the methodology used by the state board in its review; the strengths and weaknesses of the Core Curriculum Content Standards on substance abuse; and an analysis of the extent to which the Core Curriculum Content Standards on substance abuse incorporate the most recent evidence-based standards and practices.

The bill was released by the Assembly Education Committee.