State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently sponsored and passed provisions in the House of Representatives that would increase overall substance abuse funding from anticipated revenue generated from the legalization of Marijuana. The provisions increase funding for substance abuse services from $30 million to $50 million annually, directing $5 million specifically to Massachusetts Public Schools to provide substance abuse related education, prevention, intervention, social emotional supports and training.
Prior to sponsoring the provision, DiZoglio met with North Andover School Superintendent Jennifer Price to seek guidance and input regarding strategies for increasing substance abuse prevention and education efforts. That conversation, and additional discussions with Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Riley and Chelsea Public Schools Superintendent Mary Bourque, inspired DiZoglio to write the provision in the marijuana legislation for $5 million toward public schools.
“I so enjoyed working with Representative DiZoglio from the beginning on crafting this most important legislation to support our students and families,” said Price. “It is wonderful to have a State Representative who works so collaboratively with the schools.”
DiZoglio’s provision, also supported by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, The American Federation of Teachers, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and Massachusetts Association of School Committees, was ultimately included in the legislation that recently passed in the House.
“Substance abuse prevention and education has been near and dear to my heart for many years,” said DiZoglio. “In working with Speaker Deleo, Chairman Dempsey and our House leadership team, my proposal to increase substance abuse funding from $30 million to $50 million was included in this legislation with a provision directing at least $5 million to our Public Schools. The recently passed marijuana ballot question further provokes the need to address addiction prevention and education strategies amongst our children and teenagers. The passage of this provision was a team effort with colleagues, advocates and teachers from across the Commonwealth. With the bill now heading to Conference Committee, we will continue advocating for the inclusion of these provisions in the final bill.”
“We are very pleased that Representative DiZoglio took the initiative, with full House support, to use these funds to support very much needed addiction prevention, treatment, education and recovery services,” said Maryanne Frangules, executive director at the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.
“Substance abuse and the resulting challenges our children face today is a growing problem for school educators,” said Thomas Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. “The House marijuana bill recognizes these concerns with their inclusion of funding for education and prevention programs. Superintendents welcome the additional resources provided in the bill as we work to provide optimal learning conditions for our students.”