Several measures authored by State Senator Randy Head (R-Logansport) that resulted from the recommendations of the Substance Abuse and Child Safety Task Force, which is a subcommittee of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children, passed the full Senate today.
“Over the past year, the Substance Abuse and Child Safety Task Force has worked tirelessly to find ways to help combat youth substance abuse and suicide,” Head said. “This Task Force is comprised of individuals with great expertise, and several of the bills I authored this year are a direct result of the tremendous amount of work and research the Task Force has conducted and submitted to the General Assembly.”
Senate Bill 62 lays the groundwork for creating school-based substance abuse prevention programs in Indiana. The bill would require the Indiana Department of Education to work with organizations that have expertise in school-based substance abuse prevention to develop materials that will help schools across the state implement their own programs.
SB 62 also creates The School Substance Abuse Prevention Pilot Program Fund, which would allocate $300,000 to provide grants to a mix of urban, rural and suburban schools for evidence-based substance abuse prevention programming through the Substance Abuse Prevention Pilot Program.
Senate Bill 63 aims to help young people cope with mental health issues by establishing a two-year mental health telemedicine pilot program. The program would provide mental-health counseling and services to children through the use of telemedicine, which enables patients to see a practitioner from their own home by using live, face-to-face video interactions.
Senate Bill 506 takes a statewide approach to reduce suicide in Indiana. If signed into law, SB 506 would require the following:
· The Division of Mental Health and Addiction will develop a statewide program for suicide prevention and determine which professions should be required to receive training on suicide assessment, treatment and management;
· Emergency medical service providers will complete a training program for suicide assessment, treatment and management;
· School corporations will create a policy that defines what measures will be taken should a suicide occur that affects the students or staff; and
· Postsecondary educational institutions will adopt a policy concerning suicide information and resources.
“Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth ages 15-24 in Indiana, and our state has the nation’s highest rate of high school students contemplating suicide,” Head said. “This is unacceptable. I am extremely grateful to the Task Force for their dedication to identifying ways that will provide a comprehensive approach to preventing suicide in Indiana through all stages of life. I will continue to advocate for these very important bills as we move into the second half of the legislative session.”
SB 62, SB 63 and SB 506 all passed the Senate with a unanimous vote.
These bills will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration. To track these and other legislative proposals, visit www.in.gov/iga.