- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers on Monday will take up a bill that seeks to address the state’s drug epidemic by developing a substance abuse prevention program for middle school and high school students.

The bill would require that state education officials consult with experts and develop a model program that provides students with firsthand accounts of problems arising from drug abuse.

The bill’s sponsor, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, a Democrat from Skowhegan, said the bill is inspired by the work of a Henry Gates of Skowhegan. Gates devoted his life to educating middle and high school students about the dangers of opiates after his 21-year-old son died from an overdose of heroin in 2009.

The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill Monday.

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