Citing a spike in the growing number of drug-related deaths in San Diego County, Parents For Quality Education President Mark Powell wrote an opinion article on the crisis and is urging local government agencies and school districts to make available the opioid reversal medication Naloxone to parents at school sites. Counterfeit pills purchased online or through social media websites pose a serious public health and safety hazard according to our District Attorney Summer Stefan.

These pills may contain potentially life-threatening ingredients, such as fentanyl, an opioid pain medication that is 100 times more powerful than morphine, and about 50 times stronger than heroin. Teen fentanyl overdoses are increasing across the United States and one way to reverse a fentanyl overdose is to administer the opioid reversal medication Naloxone.

Beginning this month Naloxone will be available for free at clinics and community health centers around the county – it should also be made available to parents at San Diego public schools. Parents are the first line of defense against teen prescription drug use, but they are competing with online internet drug dealers who are effectively marketing counterfeit medications and are specifically targeting teens. Parents are in a tough battle and can use all the help they can get. Parents are often the first to find a child experiencing an opioid overdose and should have the tools necessary to save a life. School officials must do everything they can to help parents prepare for this type of medical emergency. Therefore, it is critical for parents to have Nalonone readily available in the event of an accidental overdose.

The San Diego County Board of Education and our Public Health Officer should work in unison to help prevent accidental teen overdoses due to fentanyl and counterfeit pills. And the distribution of Naloxone to parent through schools should be incorporated into the County Office of Education Operation Prevention program. When it comes to student safety and drug overdoses, we need to be proactive and provide parents with easy access to the life saving medication Nalonone. Since fentanyl is currently responsible for so many of the teen overdose deaths in this country, making it available through public schools makes a lot of sense.