FSH working to combat fentanyl crisis


U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

Fentapills look very similar to real prescription drugs, making them even more dangerous.

In 2021, 71,238 deaths in the United States were caused by the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl can be used very effectively for pain treatment, but only when administered and formulated by medical professionals. Although highly functional when administered and used properly, fentanyl is incredibly lethal when it doesn’t come from an FDA approved provider.

“In illicit drugs, it’s been used as an inexpensive way to make counterfeit drugs to sell to people… like on the black market,” Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Ms. Nicole Nardon, LMFT LPCC, said. “It’s super dangerous because it’s not regulated and there’s no way to disperse it in the pills that’s safe.”

This threatening situation requires immediate action not only from the government but also in high schools. Informing students about the fentanyl epidemic is an important preventative measure that can be taken in many schools. Because of this, Nurse Kathy Larson and Ms. Nardon are working closely to educate Tologs.

“From the very beginning of the school year when Ms. Bostic was asking about what were the most important presentations with health and wellness to have, [fentanyl] was our number one,” Ms. Nardon said. “In the school year, there were some overdoses of teenagers in local schools. So, Nurse Kathy and I had a real sense of urgency to get the information to you guys.”

With the help of FSH’s Parent Guild, an organization called A Song for Charlie came to campus and gave a presentation to the students during the school day and held a presentation for parents later that night. Mr. and Mrs. Ed and Mary Ternan founded A Song for Charlie to spread awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and deadly fentapills. Fentapills are a pill marketed as popular drugs such as Xanax or Percocet, however they are fake and contain deadly doses of fentanyl.

“We wanted parents and students to both have the opportunity to hear the same message, so you can go home and talk about it with your families… The more people that know about the dangers of fentanyl use the safer everybody is. Not just in our student community but also throughout the wider communities we are a part of,” Ms. Rebecca Bostic, Assistant/Vice Principal of Student Affairs, said.

There are many different reasons why teenagers feel the need to self medicate and may end up coming into contact with fentapills.

“Being a teenager, experimenting is developmentally normal. But [today’s teenagers] don’t really have the luxury to do that,” Ms. Nardon said. “A lot of times, people use drugs to self-medicate and cope with difficult feelings. It’s more important now than ever to have good coping skills in your toolbox to deal with anxiety and depression.”

FSH commits to promoting “healthy bodies… [and] do all in our power to provide extraordinary emotional support as a balance for high academic expectations.” In addition to informing students, measures are being taken to supply an antidote in case of an incident. 

This antidote is Naloxone. According to the CDC, Naloxone “is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids—including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications—when given in time.” Naloxone, or better known as its brand name, Narcan, is being distributed throughout the entire FSH campus. 

“Every school in LA county has the ability to obtain [Naloxone] for campus,” said Ms. Bostic. “She will have some on her person all the time and she also put Naloxone in the AED monitors… [Nurse Kathy] is going to train any faculty and staff who want to learn how to use it.”