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February 8, 2024

Bill to Prevent Youth Overdoses and Save Lives Passes Committee

DENVER, CO –  The House Education Committee today passed legislation to prevent youth overdoses and save lives. HB24-1003, sponsored by Representatives Barbara McLachlan and Mary Young, would make opiate antagonists and drug testing strips available on school buses and in school buildings. 

“The idea for this life-saving legislation came directly from students at Durango and Animas High Schools, and I am proud to see it through at the Capitol,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “Our students, bus drivers and educators need harm reduction tools to prevent overdoses and save lives. This legislation would allow trained bus drivers to administer opiate antagonists and encourage schools to keep a supply of drug testing strips. Keeping our students safe from accidental overdoses is a top priority, and this bill ensures schools have the tools needed to save a life.” 

“Overdoses are preventable, and it’s vital we make it easier for schools to develop plans and policies to save lives,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “This bill would extend current law to allow opiate antagonists, such as Narcan, to be used on school buses, at school events and by trained staff. Our students have not been immune to the preventable overdose crisis in our country, and this important legislation is student-driven and will save lives.” 

HB24-1003, which passed committee by a unanimous vote, would allow trained bus drivers to administer certain medications, including opiate antagonists such as Naloxone, to students experiencing an overdose. Under current law, if specific educators receive training, they are permitted to administer opiate antagonists to students. This bill extends this protection to bus drivers. This bill would also allow school boards to maintain a supply of opiate antagonists on school buses, and for trained students to possess and administer opiate antagonists on school grounds, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event. 

Additionally, HB24-1003 would allow schools to acquire and maintain a supply of testing strips designed to detect the presence of additional harmful components in an opioid, such as fentanyl. 

The House Education Committee also passed HB24-1009 by a vote of 9-1, to make early childhood education more inclusive and accessible. This bill would expand bilingual early childhood programs and facilities with a new bilingual licensing unit in the Department of Early Childhood to help provide services and education for child care licensing in prevalent languages. HB24-1009 would additionally make Spanish language licensing services, including documents, applications, and outreach, more available to communities across the state. 

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