Governor signs Leavitt bill – the Lucas Petty Act – to protect students from opioids and fentanyl. 

OLYMPIA — The governor has signed the Lucas Petty Act (House Bill 1956) to educate students about the dangers of fentanyl and opioids. Opioids represent the largest percentage of overdose deaths in Washington, a staggering 68 percent. Nationally, Washington has the second-highest percentage increase — 65 percent — in fentanyl poisoning deaths over a one-year period.  

This is especially prevalent among younger Washingtonians. In 2023, 190 youth under 24 died from opioid or fentanyl overdoses. For all people under 30, the leading cause of death is from an opioid or fentanyl overdose.  From 2020 to 2022, 342 people under 25 visited a Pierce County emergency room for drug poisoning and there were 60 deaths. These drugs affect every community in the state but are especially harming Washington’s native, Black, and brown populations.  

House Bill 1956 is the result of the efforts and collaboration between Rep. Mari Leavitt, D-University Place, and Maria Petty.  The Lucas Petty Act requires all school districts in Washington to provide education and resources to middle and high school students about the dangers of opioids and fentanyl. Maria Petty, the mother of Lucas Petty, a young man who passed away from fentanyl poisoning a few years ago, worked with Leavitt to spare other families from similar pain. 

“Youth (and their parents or guardians) don’t understand the dangers of opioids and fentanyl. The truth is that just two milligrams can end a life,” said Leavitt. “This amount can easily be found in pills or other drugs. Even one pill laced with fentanyl can kill.”  

House Bill 1956 requires health standards to be updated to include fentanyl and opioids. Additionally, the bill includes critical educational and awareness campaign efforts. It also ensures important community partnerships with the state’s Department of Health, city and county public health officials, the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, school districts, tribal leaders, education service districts, the state’s Department of Children, Youth, & Families, and other educational entities.  

“I can’t imagine the heartbreak a parent goes through when they lose a child to an overdose,” continued Leavitt. “We owe it to our kids to educate them to make smart decisions. As adults, our job is to prioritize saving lives over everything else. The Lucas Petty Act will help preserve life and prevent heartache. We owe Maria a thank you for her leadership and advocacy.”