AB 2711 – Serving Youth and Reducing Substance Use

What is this bill about?

AB 2711 requires local education agencies to create policies that use a public health approach, rather than suspensions and expulsions, for drug related infractions.

How does it align with yli’s values?

Youth alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use is a significant public health concern linked to a wide range of academic, social, and health problems. Adolescent substance use is highly predictive of adult substance abuse because the adolescent brain is still developing making it more susceptible to addiction. Research shows that high feelings of school connectedness can decrease drug use.

Unfortunately, under current law, school policies regarding drugs tend to focus on suspensions and expulsions, which only further isolate youth, increasing dropout rates and accelerating delinquency in students. Moreover, over 59% of drug related suspensions are of boys, over 83 percent are of socioeconomically disadvantaged students and 83 percent are of youth of color.

Youth substance use has been a core issue for yli’s youth leaders over the years. They have led numerous successful advocacy campaigns, from addressing social norms and educating communities about substance use, to reducing predatory marketing and creating healthy environments by limiting sales of substances in and around schools. We are staunch supporters of policies like AB 2711, which requires schools to adopt a public health framework for identifying and referring youth with substance use needs to community-based services including mechanisms for screening/referral, education on overdose risk, training of school staff, and connecting with local community-based providers.

This policy aligns with our Health Justice Platform, which envisions a thriving world that supports healthy choices for all people.

What is yli doing about it?

We have just submitted a letter endorsing this bill, and we are showing our support on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Who is sponsoring this bill?

  • CA Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Sponsor)
  • CA Alliance of Child and Family Services (Sponsor)
  • California Youth Empowerment Network (Sponsor)
  • Children Now (Sponsor)
  • Hillsides Mental Health America of California (Support)

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