East Bay school district holds 1st-of-its-kind fentanyl awareness event

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
East Bay school district holds 1st fentanyl awareness event
Mt. Diablo Unified School District held a first-of-its-kind fentanyl awareness event Monday night for students and parents.

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- It might be the middle of summer, but on Monday night, dozens of people packed the gym at Ignacio Valley High School in Concord. All of them there to take part in a first-of-its-kind fentanyl awareness program for the school district.

"We have Narcan on our middle school and high school campuses and we've had to administer it to save our students lives," said Linda Pete.

Pete is the assistant director of student services for Mt. Diablo Unified School District. She says in recent times, four of their students have died as a result of overdoses.

Pete says the growing crisis is a massive cause of concern for educators as well as parents.

MORE: Fentanyl-related deaths among children increased more than 30-fold between 2013 and 2021

"All the schools, you can see a lot of drugs. We don't know. We don't see it. And even the administrators aren't aware of what's going on," said Alex Hernandez, who has two students in the school.

The fentanyl crisis is widespread. Since 2019, fentanyl deaths have tripled here in California. And increasingly more and more of those cases are among young people.

People in attendance at Monday's event were each given doses of Narcan to have at home.

A good idea that helps to de-stigmatize a problem that's touched so many communities around the Bay Area, says recent graduate Emily Mutchie.

VIDEO: '1 pill can kill': South Bay mother is spreading awareness of daughter's fentanyl overdose

On National Fentanyl Awareness Day, one mom is sharing the heartbreaking story of how her 18-year-old daughter died from an accidental overdose and is "here to tell you that it could be your child."

"I think it's important that we are telling it in education systems and we are spreading awareness early on so that it's in the kid's mind for the future," she said.

Pete believes as we continue to navigate this epidemic, discussions like these will only become more important.

That why she says this event is just the initial step.

"This is the first one, but there will be many more," Pete said.

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