- Eight students at Park View High School suffered overdoses in the last three weeks
- Four of them took place on school grounds
- The incidents in Loundon County bring the total number of youth opioid overdose investigations to 18 this year
Virginia police are investigating how and why eight students from the same high school overdosed in just three weeks, raising concerns that the incidents were caused by fentanyl.
Park View High School in Sterling, just a 40-minute drive from Washington DC, is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that local police believe is linked to fentanyl.
In total, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating nine Park View student overdose incidents this year, bringing the total number of youth opioid overdose investigations to 18 in 2023.
Although none of the incidents at Park View were fatal, all required medical intervention in the form of CPR, administration of naxolone, or hospitalization.
Four of the overdoses in the last three weeks occurred on school grounds, three of which required the administration of Naxolone and two of which required staff to perform CPR on students.
The horrific incidents represent the most overdoses the county has ever seen in such a short period of time. The most recent case occurred earlier this week on Tuesday, a sheriff’s office spokesman said NBC News.
Four of the opioid overdoses occurred on the grounds of Park View High School in Virginia
Although none of the Park View incidents were fatal, all required medical intervention
Spokesman Thomas Julia said the sheriff’s office believes fentanyl was involved because all of the students took round blue pills marked “M30.”
The M30 pills are believed to be counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl, although laboratory results have not yet confirmed this.
The police are currently trying to track down the source of the pills.
Julia said: “We want to protect the children in school. “We want to make sure they are more aware of the dangers of fentanyl as a single dose can be fatal.”
The superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, which operates Park View High School, Aaron Spence, said he is “concerned and saddened” by the opioid crisis affecting young people in the county.
“When students come to school, we want them to learn and thrive. But above all, we want them to live.
“We need to come together as a community to find ways to help our young people who are facing these issues.”
He added that the school district started a fentanyl awareness program last year.
But the sheriff’s office said it wants to do more to combat the problem.
Julia told NBC News, “Normally we let schools take the lead on this, but honestly we felt like there wasn’t enough public information being disseminated about what actually happened.”
Last year it was reported that teenagers in the US are the fastest growing group of people dying from fentanyl overdoses.
The overdose rate among school-age children in the U.S. doubled between 2019 and 2020 and rose another 20% last year, it said BBC reported.
And earlier this year, a study found that young children under the age of five are increasingly becoming victims of accidental fentanyl poisoning.
MailOnline has reached out to Loundon County Public Schools for comment.