Briana Heaney Published

Senate Passes Bill To Teach Adolescents Dangers Of Fentanyl

A family sits in the stands looking emotional.
Lakens Mother, Father, and four-year-old daughter watched in the stands. Many Senators wiped away tears while Morgan Laken's story was told. Others shared stories of people they knew personally who had died from a drug overdose.
Will Price/WV Legislature Photography

The Senate passed a bill Saturday that would mandate public schools to teach about fentanyl in grades 6-12. 

The bill, known as Laken’s Law, is named after Morgan Laken, who died from a fentanyl overdose in 2021. It requires students to be taught about fentanyl, heroin, and opioid awareness, prevention and abuse, addiction, community resources, substance abuse among young people, and how to administer opioid reversal agents like Narcan. The instruction will begin in the 2024-2025 school year. 

Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, said that likely if Laken had known the dangers of fentanyl she might still be alive. 

“(She) would have never chosen to leave that beautiful baby of hers, and that beautiful family of hers,” Caputo said. “So maybe… maybe we can help the future of West Virginia. You know, I’ve always said we teach our kids at a very early age not to play with matches. And it works. We’ve got to spend more time teaching them about fentanyl.”

Laken’s mother, father, and four-year-old daughter watched as the bill was passed in the Senate. 
The bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House of Delegates , and now heads back to the House to consider Senate changes.