California opioid epidemic: ‘Melanie’s Law’ aims to tackle youth fentanyl crisis
LOS ANGELES - A Southern California mother is turning heartache into purpose and is throwing her support behind a bill aimed at preventing fentanyl overdoses among students.
Senate Bill 10, also known as "Melanie’s Law" will be heard on the California Senate floor Wednesday and if it passes, the law would boost resources in hopes of preventing fentanyl overdoses on campuses statewide.
The law was named after Melanie Ramos who was a student at Hollywood’s Helen Bernstein High School when she died of a suspected fentanyl overdose on campus in September 2022. A lawsuit filed by her family claimed she was missing for eight hours before her body was found inside one of the campus bathrooms by her friend’s stepfather.
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The wrongful death and negligence lawsuit filed by Melanie’s mother, Elena Perez, alleges the school and school district didn’t do enough to prevent the tragic event. The lawsuit also claims the school didn’t do bathroom sweeps or take enough action to stop the flow of illegal drugs and opioids inside the school.
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Perez plans to take her story of loss to Sacramento where she’ll testify on SB 10, which was introduced by San Jose Senator Dave Cortese. The bill encourages schools across the state to train staff on opioid overdoses and lifesaving measures such as Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an overdose. It would also require California to establish fentanyl education in schools and help schools develop a resource guide for opioid overdoses.