• Fentanyl Awareness Information
    As presented at the May 9, 2023 School Board meeting

    General Information and Data: Opioids are a class of drugs that include legal pain relievers available by prescription (oxycontin, Vicodin, codeine, morphine and others), and illegal drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids like Fentanyl). Synthetic means that it is made in a lab and has no natural properties. Substances that are man-made can be altered to be much stronger than those with a natural foundation.1 

    Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl (IMF) is available on the drug market in different forms, including liquid and powder. Powdered Fentanyl looks just like many other drugs. It is commonly mixed with drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine and made into pills that are made to resemble other prescription opioids. Many people may be unaware that their drugs are laced with Fentanyl.

    It is important to note that if pills are being obtained on the street or the internet, the chances are very high that the pills are fake and the person taking them now has a greater than 50% chance of dying if they take just one of the pills.1 

    No one is regulating these pills’ production and there is no standard recipe or testing on them. Virginia has experienced deaths of young people from marijuana laced with Fentanyl. The number of Fentanyl deaths in the United States from 2019 to 2021 almost doubled after COVID-19. If the rate of Fentanyl doubles again in 2 years, more than 132,000 people will die in 2023.2

    In response, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), in collaboration with its long-standing and new partners, offered six Fentanyl Awareness Events reaching more than 300 community members and parents and will continue moving forward. 

    • Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services
    • Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office 
    • Leesburg Police Department 
    • Loudoun Medical Group 
    • The Williams Center for Wellness and Recovery  

    What can families and parents do? 

    • Talk to your kids about substances, especially pills, and Fentanyl. Stress that they should only take medications prescribed by a doctor and that NO prescription purchased online or given to them by a peer is safe. Inform that Fentanyl has been found in most illegal drugs. Help them develop refusal skills and an exit plan not if but when they are offered pills or other substances.2

    Naloxone training for LCPS staff: 

    • Nineteen Student Assistance Specialists (SAS) who are master level, often licensed mental health professionals, are providing consultation, education and interventions in our middle and high schools. 

    Student Leadership

    • Student leaders from Sources of Strength and Positive Experiences in Educational Relationships have been raising awareness by taking action in school and on social media.  

    How Does Naloxone Work?

    • Naloxone is an antidote for opioids, reversing an opioid overdose that can be caused by prescription analgesics (e.g., Percocet, OxyContin), heroin, and Fentanyl. Naloxone will only reverse an opioid overdose; it does not prevent deaths caused by other drugs such as benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Klonopin and Valium), bath salts, cocaine, methamphetamine, or alcohol.

    *It is important to note that someone who has been revived with Narcan should not be left alone for several hours in case the Naloxone wears off. The opioid is a longer-acting variety which could cause another overdose to occur even though the person has not taken any more of the drug.

    • Every campus has at least one administrator and SSO trained to administer Naloxone; doses are available in the clinic. 
    • Loudoun County MHSADS Prevention and Intervention Staff provided this one-hour training with hands-on practice provided by one of our nurses in Student Health Services. 
      • At the secondary level, we expanded to ADs, ATs, Directors of School Counseling, Student Health Services, Student Assistance Specialists, SSOs, and Administrators. 920 total staff across various disciplines were trained this school year either trained in person or an online/hands-on combination training increased parent education efforts around substance use and Fentanyl to parents and staff.  


    Additional Resource Links (as provided by the LCPS Student Mental Health Services)


    1. https://www.familiesagainstfentanyl.org/research/byage

    2. DEA.gov

Last Modified on May 16, 2023