The Fentanyl Crisis: Teen Overdoses


“Rainbow” Fentanyl is utilized to trick easily influenced people.

On September 14th, 2022, a 15-year-old girl attending Bernstein High School in Hollywood overdosed on fentanyl-laced pills. After a warning in the area that drug dealers were lacing pills with lethal drugs, many did not realize how dangerous the situation was getting. 

According to U.S. News by Associated Press, “The girl and her 15-year-old friend had not come home from school in the afternoon and the man began driving around town looking for the pair. He found his stepdaughter around 8 p.m. in a courtyard at the high school, said police Lt. John Radke.” The situation at hand brings up a tragic but important global issue: The Fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl is not meant to be a drug used freely as other drugs such as marijuana and nicotine. Fentanyl is a drug meant for the treatment of severe pain, most commonly used in cancer patients. 

Though there is already an issue with drugs in educational environments, the lacing of pills is a recent trend that many schools are already aware of, “School districts and North by extension have to be aware of trends that are going on with teenagers and especially because this happened, nationally, it’s a problem. This specific incident happened in LA Unified and Riverside Unified does take much of what we do as a district from LA. I think policies the LA Unified is going to test and see to respond to the fentanyl problem but be something that eventually can filter down into RUSD and therefore North.” says Coach Ryan Lopez. 

As a school, we cannot turn a blind eye to something as serious as this. This is something that can happen at a school like ours too. We need to be able to take the same precautions here as well so all students at North feel safe.

LAUSD and LAPD are already taking steps by investigating the area to make sure this never happens again. The pills have also been meant to look like they are candy to lure in younger children. However, at the same time, the police are getting closer to finding who is behind this and more overdosing minors are showing up. Six other teenagers had overdosed in those past 3 weeks, all stemming from a drug dealer at a nearby park in LA county.

When taking into account that teenagers are most likely getting these drugs from other teenagers it brings up the question if they should be held accountable, “I think they need to be held accountable. Because we, at this point, nationally understand that any sort of opioid has major life consequences for someone. And what that accountability means is a tough question for our modern criminal justice system and the question of equity and equality in that system.” continues, Coach Ryan Lopez. 

The two teen boys who have been suspected to be selling these drugs have also been suspected of having gotten these from adults who received them from a much larger drug ring, including fentanyl. “LA Unified and LAPD believed that they were at least two dealers or at least two people convinced to deal for a much larger drug ring. And I think that the adults knowingly put pills into high schools that are taking teenagers’ lives, they need to have the full accountability of what can happen for that.” concludes, Coach Ryan Lopez.

The adults especially, knowing that these pills can trick anyone as young as 12 years old that these pills could be candy or even influence teenagers that these are “harmless” drugs, need to be held accountable for a thing very sick to do.