THE ANGELS — The Los Angeles Unified School District will provide all of its schools with a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, after at least seven teenagers overdosed on pills likely laced with fentanyl in recent weeks, including a 15-year-old girl who he died in a high school. installations.
“We have an urgent crisis on our hands,” District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a news conference on Thursday.
Carvalho said doses of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, will be supplied to all schools from kindergarten through 12th grade in the coming weeks, some 1,400 schools in all. The county public health department will provide the medication free of charge.
The nation’s second-largest school district will also begin an educational campaign that includes parent outreach and peer counseling to warn students about the dangers of fentanyl.
Police said at least seven teenagers overdosed in the past month after taking pills that likely contained fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. The drug is frequently mixed into illicit pills that look like prescription painkillers or other medications.
The most recent overdose occurred on Saturday and police are investigating whether those pills were related to Melanie Ramos’ fatal overdose on Sept. 13 in a bathroom at Bernstein High School in Hollywood. The school was open that night for soccer and volleyball games, authorities said.
She and a classmate bought a fentanyl-containing pill from another youth, believing it to be the prescription painkiller Percocet, then took the drug on campus and lost consciousness, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the newspaper. City Police Commission on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, paramedics responded to separate calls reporting possible overdoses by two teenagers in the Lexington Park area, less than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from Bernstein High and a cluster of other schools. The teenagers are believed to have been students at the schools.
Police last week arrested two boys, ages 15 and 16, in connection with Ramos’ death and other drug sales in the area. The younger boy was taken into custody on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, police said.
However, Moore said the teens were “just pawns being used by adults and drug trafficking organizations,” and authorities were trying to find the supplier.