Together We Can Pass Jake’s Bill!

The purpose of Jake’s Bill is to incorporate evidence-based substance misuse prevention curriculum throughout 5-12th grade to better equip our youth in the dangers of drugs, and especially opioids, in order to prevent use, abuse, and overdoses.

I am Sheri Schmaus, the founder of the For Jake’s Sake Foundation. I lost a son at 21 years of age to a heroin overdose. Losing a child—especially to such a wicked drug as heroin—is a tragedy I hope no parent or loved one ever has to go through. Help me and my foundation pass Jake’s Bill through the MN House of Representatives  so we can get education and awareness in our school systems! The best way to stop heroin and opioid addiction is to never let it start.

Please be a part of this important work and let’s create a great movement together. Please also consider a donation of $25 to help us continue in our efforts — you can DONATE HERE.

Jake’s Bill

The War on Teenage Opioid Addiction: “You Abuse – You Lose”

We are in deep gratitude for Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein for authoring this bill.




The For Jake’s Sake Foundation will collaborate with school districts to integrate evidence-based, drug prevention instruction on the dangers of drug use, particularly the use of opioids and heroin, into school district health education instruction.

Jake’s Bill is about getting better substance misuse prevention information—focusing on opioids, medications, prescription drugs, and heroin—into the schools at an earlier age with consistent messaging and soliciting frequent conversations between staff, teachers, students and parents.

What is Jake’s Bill?

The proposed Jake’s Bill is to integrate evidence-based substance misuse prevention instruction, particularly the dangers of opioids (prescription drugs both medical and non-medical use) as well as heroin into all MN public and charter schools’ programs and curricula. This will include health education and other appropriate instructional disciplines such as social studies, science, and physical education, within elementary, middle and high school substance misuse instruction.

A Jake’s Bill adoption is extremely important because currently, each MN school district chooses their curriculum, the intensity, frequency of instruction, and subject areas creating a huge vacuum for disproportionate and inconsistent learning efficacy as it pertains to substance misuse all across Minnesota. If we are really passionate in eradicating teenage substance misuse, we must have a more intentional approach and standardized system for the delivery of substance misuse prevention instruction throughout MN education.

Jake’s Bill provides this.

Through extensive research on teens and drug usage, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has identified three “Must Haves” within our educational system to move toward eradication of substance misuse amongst our children by changing their behavior through changing their mindset: 1) Start early, 2) Have consistent messages throughout elementary, middle and high school instruction, 3) Have frequent conversations with caring adults (teachers, coaches, parents, community members) on the dangers of misusing medications and drugs.

This is why it is imperative that legislation is approved to address this very serious crisis within our communities and one impacting our children so significantly.

We Need You To Take Action!

Adoption of Jake’s Bill will provide:

1. The ability to create a Statewide Substance Misuse K-12 Curriculum Taskforce to formally review our current chemical health instruction as a whole, but more importantly provide evidence-based opioid abuse prevention curriculum to be integrated into health education classes as well as other subject areas to address our current opioid crisis amongst our children within Minnesota’s primary and secondary educational systems.

2. Identification of effective substance misuse prevention tools and strategies, including innovative uses of technology and media: This will be achieved by utilizing a select group of substance misuse curriculum for the identified public and charter schools who will participate in the pilot program which will include a pre/post assessment, teacher/student materials and teacher training. Selected material will be comprised of nationally vetted materials from Nation Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Robert Crown Center, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Scholastic, and Discovery Education. Data collected will be utilized by the Statewide Substance Misuse K-12 Curriculum Taskforce to develop a comprehensive substance misuse prevention curriculum to be integrated into all MN public and charter schools educational systems. We are envisioning this to be a three year project to ensure program efficacy and accurate data collection has been achieved to demonstrate the overall effectiveness and success of this bill’s intent. Jake’s Bill is a necessity as we all know that prevention is the best intervention. Reduce the teenage prescription medication/opioid drug usage and it will reduce significantly the health care costs downstream.

3. Develop and promote a comprehensive substance misuse prevention curriculum for students in grades 5-12 that educates students and families about the dangers of substance misuse and in particular opioid abuse prevention: The For Jake’s Sake Foundation has teamed with ISD #11 Health and Physical Education teachers to assist in the creation of the Learning Targets for each grade band that were developed for our pilot program. The comprehensive curriculum package will include:

  • Lesson plan and teacher’s notes
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Videos
  • Parent resources
  • Parent presentations
  • On-line interactive software engaging student with real life situation for learning coping skills and strong decision making skills as well as anatomically what occurs within the body and brain once you introduce your system to an opioid drug

Currently, public school districts choose which grades require substance misuse instruction within their elementary, middle, and high school education. For example, ISD #11 requires all 6 graders to receive substance misuse prevention instruction, but it becomes an elective for 10th graders, so only two grades are being offered any type of substance misuse instruction and out of the total 10th grade population, ONLY 60 students per school are electing to take health education. This is not acceptable to us considering many of the graduating classes exceed 700 students! Therefore, it is our recommendation that substance misuse prevention is required for all 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students. This would be consistent with the research on best practices on how to change behavior by changing a child’s mindset per SAMHSA.

4. Integrate substance misuse prevention into curricula across subject areas: The highest rate for heroin addiction is among 18-25 years olds in the U.S. (CDC/CBS NEWS). This is sobering because we now understand that students are not being taught regularly about the dangers of using drugs and particularly the opioid family of drugs throughout their primary and secondary educational experience. They are easy to get, inexpensive and perceived as a lesser risk since the doctor prescribed them. Jake’s Bill will guarantee that students are hearing the message throughout their educational years within multiple subject areas reinforcing the significance of a drug free lifestyle.

Per discussions with Anoka-Hennipen school (ISD #11) teachers, we felt there are wonderful possibilities to integrate opioid abuse prevention instruction within the sciences, social studies, and physical education subject areas, just to name a few. In order to meet the strict requirement recommendation of this bill for 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students to receive substance misuse prevention instruction, it would need to be addressed within several subject areas due to time allotment, existing health education standards, as well as the many other health topics that need to be addressed. We look forward to working with the MN Department of Education to ensure all learning targets are in alignment with current standards and requirements for the various subject areas.

5. Train school district teachers, athletic coaches, and other school staff in effective substance misuse prevention strategies: This deliverable is perceived as one of the most critical to achieve as numerous studies have demonstrated the connection between academic success and the number of positive adult relationships within a child’s life. Our vision is to provide education to students, staff, teachers, coaches, parents and community leaders that touch children’s lives on a weekly basis. This will be achieved through a partnership with the MN Department of Education.

In addition, The For Jake’s Sake Foundation is currently engaging in conversation with Anoka County Community Health & Environmental Services and the Community Mental Health Departments as well as with the MN Youth Athletic Services organization to further develop an evidence-based, community athletic coaches drug prevention curriculum that focuses on prescription medication, opiates, and heroin. The curriculum will educate coaching staff, athletes, and the parents.

6. Collaborate with school districts to evaluate the effectiveness of district’s substance misuse prevention efforts: The For Jake’s Sake Foundation will administer a variety of assessment tools to successfully evaluate the overall engagement and increased understanding of middle and high school students’ opioid knowledge. Teachers will be assessed as well.


  • Every day, 4000 teens between the ages of 12-17, try an illicit drug for the first time. (Drug Free Communities)
  • Prescription drugs are the current drug of choice among 12 -13 year olds (National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
  • One in 5 teens has misused prescription drugs. (NIDA)
  • One in 3 teens report there is “nothing wrong” with using prescription drugs. (NIDA)
  • 90% of addicts report that they started using before the age of fifteen. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse)
  • The highest rate for heroin addiction is among 18-25 years olds in the U.S. (CDC/CBS NEWS)
  • People who begin using any addictive substance before age 15 are six and a half times as likely to develop a substance use disorder as those who delay use until age 21 or older (
  • Prescription drugs are abused by teens more often than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamine combined. (NIDA)
  • 61% of all drug overdoses included heroin or prescription pain medication (CDC)
  • Between 2007 and 2011, the number of opioid related emergency rooms visits surpassed all other drug related emergencies. In 2017 it is still rising!

In closing, opioid abuse has become a crisis within MN. Children need to be educated on the dangers of drugs in general, but especially within the topic of prescription drugs, opiates, and heroin.

There is not a standardized, evidence-based, comprehensive opioid abuse prevention curriculum to address this current epidemic and one that links to other drug abuse prevention materials and resources for K-12 educators. The Jake’s Bill will fill this void providing educational materials and resources for consistent drug prevention messaging throughout elementary, middle and high school educational subject areas. Education through interactive teaching methods IS the best intervention to future anti- drug use prevention.

Support the Up-Coming Jake’s Bill in January 2019!


3/1/18 — Sheri Schmaus at the state capital to testify in front of the Legislators. Sheri was invited to tell her story of Jake and all of the loved ones affected by his overdose.

Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL) District: 41B

Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL) and Sheri Schmaus (with Jake).

Senator Chris A. Eaton

Senator Chris A. Eaton (DFL).

Representative Dave Baker

Representative Dave Baker (R).