Seven students at one Virginia high school overdosed in three weeks

LOUDOUN, VA – A high school in Loudoun County, Virginia, is grappling with a severe opioid crisis, with seven students overdosing in the past three weeks alone. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating these incidents, which have all occurred at Park View High School. Four of these overdoses happened within the school premises, with three requiring the use of Narcan, a medication used to reverse opioid overdose, and two needing CPR.

The Sheriff’s Office has identified fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, as the common factor in all these overdoses. The drug is often disguised as a counterfeit 30 mg oxycodone pill, which is blue, circular, and may bear the stamp ‘M30.’ The Sheriff’s Office has been investigating opioid-related incidents involving minors in the county, with 18 reports so far this year, compared to 19 in 2022.

Sheriff Mike Chapman reassured the community that they are committed to identifying the source of these lethal drugs. He also urged the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to continue communicating with the Park View community and offered additional educational and security measures to combat the crisis.

Dr. Aaron Spence, the LCPS Superintendent, expressed his concern about the opioid crisis reaching the Park View community. He highlighted the measures LCPS is taking, such as fentanyl awareness and education programs, training staff to administer Naloxone in emergencies, and providing additional administrative, counseling, and security support to the Park View community.

The LCPS has also conducted a safety assessment at the school to prevent students from accessing or using fentanyl. The district has provided extra staff support for Park View, including training additional personnel on administering Narcan.

The opioid crisis has been a nationwide concern for years. To combat this, some states are providing Narcan to college students. Narcan, or naloxone, reverses the effects of opioids. New York and California are among the states that require all public universities to have Narcan in student housing facilities.