A high school in a northern Virginia county has reported eight drug-related overdoses involving students, seven of which have happened over the past three weeks.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) said in a press release on Tuesday that four out of the eight overdoses reported occurred inside Park View High School, three of which required the administration of Narcan, an anti-overdose drug, and two of which required CPR by school staff. None of the overdoses were fatal.
LCSO believes the “overdoses appear to involve fentanyl,” which can be found in the “form of a counterfeit 30 mg oxycodone pill” that is “blue, circular,” and stamped with “M30.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.
Names of the students would not be revealed, in addition to the ongoing status of the investigation, LCSO said.
School board candidate Amy Riccardi stressed the importance of letting parents know “that there is a fentanyl problem” at Park View High School.
“They don’t have to give and disclose the information about the specific name of the student, the grade or any identifying information,” Riccardi told NBC4 Washington. “But parents need to know that there is a fentanyl problem here at Park View.”
Opioid overdoses are defined as being a “reaction to a suspected opioid” and require medical treatment such as Narcan, CPR, or being transported to a hospital, the LCSO said in its statement.
Examples of opioid drugs include fentanyl, heroin, morphine, and oxycodone, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Overdoses from opioids can occur for several reasons such as when a person accidentally takes a bigger dose than intended, misuses a prescription opioid, or mixes an opioid with alcohol, or over-the-counter medications.
“We know the overwhelming number of Park View students are responsible and care about the safety of their school,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said in his statement. “We are putting all available resources into identifying who is responsible for distributing these lethal drugs.”
Since the fiscal year 2019, fentanyl seizures from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have increased by more than 800%. Fentanyl seizures during the fiscal year 2023 have already surpassed the seizures made in fiscal year 2022, according to the CBP.
Roughly 106,539 people were reported to have died from a drug overdose during the 12-month period ending on May 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.