In the ongoing battle to stem the heroin and opiate epidemic in Maryland, the newest focus is a state law that mandates teaching students in elementary schools through college about the dangers of the drugs.

Public schools are tweaking drug-education lessons and colleges are preparing sessions for incoming students to comply with the Start Talking Maryland Act, which becomes law July 1.

The act, passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this year, requires public schools to offer drug-education that includes the dangers of heroin and opiates starting in elementary school.

It also requires public schools to stock the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, have staff trained to use it and to report naloxone uses to the state.

“The key is to start talking about it,” said Del. Eric Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat one of the lead sponsors of the measure. “You really need to get to people sooner and you need to get to them over and over again.”