In December I wrote a letter addressing the ongoing opioid crisis, sharing with you my son Joshua’s struggle with addiction.
First, I want to sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of support and concern, and report that Josh is doing very well in his recovery. Since I shared Josh’s story, so many neighbors, friends, and strangers have told me about their own loved ones who have faced similar crises.
I believe that by working together we can eliminate the stigma of addiction and focus our efforts on taking a number of practical measures that are needed to combat the crisis that is gripping our Commonwealth and our country. I’m happy to report a number of significant measures have received bi-partisan support in this year’s General Assembly session and will soon become law:
-HB 1453 increases the number of people authorized to train others to administer naloxone, a drug used in situations of opioid overdose. Much like an Epi-Pen, naloxone is incredibly important to have on hand to save lives in emergency overdose situations.
-HB 2161 creates an opportunity to develop educational guidelines for health care providers to continue learning about safe prescribing standards and the appropriate use of opioids. One reason we are in this crisis is because of the over-availability of opioid painkillers and other like drugs. By continuing the education of our health care providers when it comes to these substances, fewer people will become addicted.
-HB 2162 convenes a work group to study the barriers to treatment of substance-exposed infants in Virginia. Treating adults is much different than treating newborns and infants who are struggling with addiction, and the Commonwealth needs to find the best ways to help these children lead healthy, successful lives.
-HB 2165 requires that opioids only be prescribed via electronic prescription. This will help increase security and make sure that opioid prescriptions are being filled exactly as a doctor intended.
I feel each of the bills passed this year play an important role in reversing the disturbing trend of opioid addiction and collectively will make a difference. I will continue to monitor the opioid crisis and work with all applicable agencies and elected officials to gauge the success of the above measures and to take any additional actions. Addiction is a non-partisan issue and I applaud members of both parties for coming together to work on these critical pieces of legislation.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please know that help is available and that you are not alone in this time of crisis. If I can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
Delegate John Bell
I cannot be silent about the article in the Times-Mirror regarding the student walkout protesting the Trump administration. I read the comments at the bottom of the article, and while Loudoun Education Alliance of Parents (LEAP) does not endorse any one person, entity, association, or party, and the like, I do endorse our students.
The students have the right to free speech. They are taught about government in school, and they should not be reprimanded for applying their teachings and exercising their first amendment rights. We should support them and be proud that they are willing to stand up and speak. These are the kind of leaders we need in the future to advocate for the adults who are criticizing them now.
They let their voices be heard via peaceful protests. We should listen to their concerns and be a resource for resolution instead of shutting them down.
I reviewed the current school year handbook, and found the following under
Students Rights and Responsibilities/ Freedom of Expression:
“Students may exercise their right to freedom of expression through speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and other lawful means provided such expression does not cause substantial disruption or is not otherwise lewd, obscene, or profane. Principals may provide reasonable times and appropriate places for students to exercise this right.
However, the exercise of this right may be revoked whenever it becomes disruptive to the school program or interferes with the rights of other students to pursue their studies or activities or to express their ideas, or reasonably leads the principal to forecast disruption or interference. Students may not use this right to present obscene material; to slander or defame the character of another person or persons; or to advocate the violation of any federal,state, or local laws; or official school policies, rules, or regulations. Students shall have the right to present recommendations to teachers and administrators to advocate change of any policy, rule,or regulation. Teachers and administrators shall make reasonable arrangements of time and place to hear such recommendations.”
These are my comments. They do not reflect the opinions of LCPS or LEAP.
Loudoun Education Alliance of Parents
What better lesson than a real life lesson?
-Teaching what democracy looks like by allowing students to participate in it.
-Fostering the initiative, creativity, and leadership of the future generation.
-Empowering the voices of our young people to make a positive difference in this world and speak out when they see injustice.
- Teaching the critical thinking skills involved in discerning fact from fiction in today’s world of “news” and information.
These, my friend, are lessons students will remember long after reading about it in a book or sitting in a classroom lecture.
Ann Jansen, Teacher
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