The Los Angeles Unified School District has taken steps to address the growing fentanyl crisis that resulted in nine students overdosing, including a 15-year-old who died recently in a school bathroom.
We are experiencing a devastating epidemic. While we talk about fentanyl or the many variations of fentanyl, there is an abundance of drugs that students are having ready access to. But there are solutions.Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent LAUSD
With support from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, LAUSD is distributing the naloxone units across its schools at no cost, beginning first with middle and high schools. Naloxone, known also as Narcan, can temporarily reverse overdose effects and will be distributed in nasal spray form, which Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said will make it easy to use if needed. School police officers will also have the drug on hand.
This epidemic isn’t only affecting local schools, but also the jail system which Sheriff Alex Villanueva has also touched on.
“In response to the ability to obtain fentanyl in the jails, we have made Narcan available on every floor for inmates to administer themselves,” said Villanueva.
Five inmates in the Men’s Central Jail overdosed in April, and the family of Jelani Lovett disputes his death being attributed to an overdose after being incarcerated over the last two years.
Inglewood Unified has yet to make any public announcements of overdoses being an issue within the district, and it appears County Administrator Dr. Erika Torres is not taking proactive measures to join with either the Inglewood police and/or Public Health department to alert students of the dangers.
Inglewood was the site of a “historic” fentanyl drug bust this summer indicating the drug is definitely in the City and could be available to students. Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta didn’t make any public statements to alert the public of the dangers of fentanyl either, losing an opportunity to ensure parents knew potential ways to identify if their child was in possession of it or what to look for in the event of an overdose.
Fentanyl overdoses have been on the increase since prior to the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. It’s become increasingly common for pills to be laced with fentanyl and/or be disguised as candy.
In response, LAUSD will work on preventive measures to address the growing issue by launching peer-to-peer counseling for students to spread knowledge of the impact of drug use and students will receive training from the Health Information Project, which focuses on providing health education through that model.
LAUSD will also offer courses on drug use and impact through its Family Academy beginning next week. Courses will tackle the issue through several aspects, including effects and signs of usage as well as the mental health impact. LAUSD is also launching its Make a Choice campaign across social media, posters and messaging to grow awareness.
When exactly are Inglewood’s children safety going to be put first Dr, Torres? Do you have any plans to get in front of this before it claims the life of an Inglewood student? Not all of them participate in the youth orchestra, tennis, or sports.