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Nearly all states and the District of Columbia have policies requiring schools to address prevention of alcohol or drug use and abuse in high school health education curricula, according to NASBE’s State Health Policy Database. But with the added concerns about the pandemic’s impact on youth mental and physical health, some states have reexamined their approaches to substance abuse education and prevention. In particular, they have sought to address opioid, tobacco, and e-cigarette use among youth.

Youth and adolescent drug use is a strong risk factor for later development of substance use disorders such as addiction. It may also put students at risk for developing other mental illnesses. By ensuring that students and staff have access to comprehensive health curricula, mental health supports, and counseling, state policymakers hope to reduce rates of youth substance abuse. …

Supporting School Efforts to Combat Substance Abuse

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