California public schools will be required to train employees on opioid-prevention techniques and response, and also increase awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, under a bill signed today by Gov. Gavin Newsom and inspired by a teen who overdosed in the bathroom of a Hollywood school.
SB 10, known as Melanie's Law, is named after 15-year-old Melanie Ramos, who was found dead from an overdose in a bathroom at Bernstein High School in September 2022. Authorities said Melanie and one of her friends took pills without knowing they contained fentanyl. The other teen survived.
The bill's author, Sen. Dave Cortese, D-San Jose, said fentanyl "has left a trail of devastation across California, and our bill establishes a series of concrete solutions to protect young people."
"This law will train educators on life-saving fentanyl response, and give students and adults the resources and knowledge to stop the opioid epidemic in their communities,'' Cortese said in a statement Friday night. "As we celebrate SB 10 becoming law, we honor Melanie Ramos, a bright teenager who lost her life to fentanyl. Melanie's Law will save young lives in California for decades to come."
According to Cortese's office, the legislation requires that California public schools "provide training to school employees on opioid prevention and life-saving response under a formal plan known as a Comprehensive School Safety Plan, or CSSP. Additionally, the bill establishes a state framework to ensure that all students and adults understand the growing risk of youth fentanyl exposure, and have access to the resources needed to prevent and respond to fentanyl poisoning and overdoses."
In a statement released by Cortese's office, Melanie Ramos' mother, Elena Perez, said her daughter's memory "lives with her friends and family, and her legacy will be felt across California."
"I miss her dearly, but her memory and my love for her has given me the strength to speak so that other mothers will not have to suffer what I am suffering,'' Perez said in the statement. "I thank Governor Newsom for signing Melanie's Law. I ask every middle and high school employee in California to do the overdose prevention training and have Narcan available. Let's please protect every young person."