Louie's Law passes state House, on way to Pritzker's desk

Legislation to create a comprehensive drug education curriculum for the state's public schools is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk.

Louie's Law, named after a suburban man who died from a heroin overdose in 2012, unanimously passed the state House on Friday, a victory for advocates who say education is key to reducing the toll substance abuse disorder has taken on young people in Illinois.

“This just goes to show you that the legislature is united in making sure that our youth are safe,” said Chelsea Laliberte Barnes, the co-founder of the Arlington Heights-based community recovery center Live4Lali and a co-author of the bill. “But we have a lot of work to do ahead of us. We have to implement this bill. It doesn't just stop when the governor signs it.”

The bill's formal title is the Drug Education and Youth Overdose Prevention Act, but it's named after Louie Miceli, a Medinah man who died at age 24 from a heroin overdose. His mother, Felicia Miceli, was among the many vocal advocates for the legislation.

If the measure is signed by the governor, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Department of Human Services will work with advocates to develop substance use prevention and recovery resource materials for public elementary and secondary schools by July 1, 2024.

The curriculum would be made available to school districts statewide, but participation would be optional.

Along with creating the curriculum, an awareness campaign will be needed to reach school leaders, regional offices of education, parents and parent groups, teachers, and teachers unions, Laliberte Barnes said.

More than 'Just Say No': Louie's Law would provide drug education in K-12 schools

Chelsea Laliberte Barnes
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