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February 29, 2024

Bill to Save Lives, Prevent Youth Overdose Deaths Passes House

DENVER, CO –  The House today passed legislation by a vote of 50 to 12 to prevent youth overdose deaths 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. 

“Our students, bus drivers and educators need tools to prevent overdoses and save lives,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “This legislation, championed by students at both Durango and Animas High Schools, would allow trained bus drivers to administer opiate antagonists and encourage schools to keep a supply of drug testing strips. Our youth have not been immune to the overdose crisis in this county, and this legislation ensures schools have the tools needed to save a life.” 

“To help prevent fatal overdoses, we must make it easier for schools to develop plans and policies to save lives,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “Under this bill, we would extend current law to allow Narcan and other opiate antagonists to be used in schools, on school buses, and at school events by trained staff and students. We’re fighting back against Colorado’s overdose epidemic and saving lives.”

HB24-1003, 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.

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