The Senate Education Committee fast-tracked a bill, SB 369, that would mandate drug and alcohol education for Kindergarten through grade 12 as part of health classes.
This is yet another unfunded mandate and against local control, like so many other recent bills. Even the fiscal note on the bill says it “may increase local expenditures by an indeterminable amount in fiscal year 2017 and each year thereafter.” This is against Article 28-A of the NH Constitution.
The effectiveness of these anti-drug school programs is non-existent. There is no objective evidence to support the use of these programs. The good intentions of the DARE program, and others like it, actually backfire as data shows that more students experiment with drugs and alcohol after participating in these programs than those who did not. A commonly used one called Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), has been a failure for over 30 years, but it is still used in US classrooms.
The Senate and House Education Committees held a joint public hearing on January 12th to expedite this bill. Only the sponsor, Senator Nancy Stiles was allowed to speak, and 11 members of the public who signed in to give testimony were denied their ability to do so. This is an egregious misuse of legislative power.
Further, there is no need for this bill. State statute RSA 189:10 already requires drug and alcohol education. Additionally, Ed 306, the Minimum Standards for Public School Approval was updated in July 2015 to explicitly require K-12 health and wellness educational programs to include instruction on “substance use and abuse including tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.”
The Senate Education Committee already exec’d this bill with a 5-0 recommendation, and SB 369 will be voted on by the full Senate tomorrow, Thursday, January 14th.
Contact every senator urging them to vote NAY on SB 369 to stop this runaway bill. This bill is not a response to New Hampshire’s drug crisis. It is simply “legislative theater,” just grandstanding for the press.
Martha Fuller Clark
to easily email all of them: