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D11 speaks out after a third district student dies of fentanyl overdose

KRDO/United States District Court

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- District 11 officials spoke out Thursday not as officials -- but as parents -- as they try to prevent more deaths from the local and national fentanyl crisis.

Wednesday, KRDO obtained court documents revealing a Mitchell High School student died from a fentanyl overdose in December. Her peers reportedly told authorities that the girl snorted pills in the bathroom of the high school.

The student, born in 2006, was found unresponsive in class and later died at a hospital.

District 11 confirmed with KRDO her death was the third fentanyl-related death in the district in the 2021/2022 school year.

"One child lost is one too many, and we just wanted to get ahead of any more potential overdose deaths," said Devra Ashby, District 11's spokesperson.

Ashby said an emergency overdose treatment called Narcan will be stocked at every middle and high school in the district to prepare for the potential of another overdose. The district is also launching a new campaign called "Fake or Fatal", to try to educate the community about the dangers of fentanyl.

Court documents reveal the Mitchell High School student who died likely got the pills from another student who allegedly found a dealer through Facebook, meaning accessibility is prevalent in the community.

"Your children likely have access via their cell phone, social media platforms, to this drug, and one pill can kill. It just takes one pill, and we don't ever want to see a child die, it just should never happen," Ashby explained.

Ashby, who is also the parent of a high schooler, says this crisis hit closer to home.

"As a parent, yeah, it's terrifying," she said. "It's something that all parents need to be paying attention to. Not necessarily just the social media aspect, but how is your child doing mentally?"

Ashby said the isolation from the pandemic caused more kids to struggle with their mental health, she said kids are looking to self-medicate, meaning no child is immune from the impacts of this drug.

She recommends keeping a close eye on your child's social media and talking to them about how dangerous fentanyl can be.

"Sometimes with teenagers, you don't always think they're listening to you, or they may roll their eyes or they may, you know, ignore you completely. They're hearing you. They're hearing you and they need to have that interaction with adults," Ashby said.

Ashby adds that most kids who take fentanyl are looking for different drugs,= and don't realize what they're taking is laced with the lethal substance.

To learn more about fentanyl, click here.

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Sydnee Scofield

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