Park View Hosts First Community Meeting about Fentanyl Crisis

On November 4th, 2023, members of the community, the local police force, and Park View employees hosted a session to give information about Fentanyl and the recent problem with overdoses in LCPS.
Park View Hosts First Community Meeting about Fentanyl Crisis

From 19 fentanyl related overdoses overall last year, to matching that amount of overdoses in only the first few months of this school year, students and staff in Loudoun County Public Schools are facing a serious problem.

Phyllis J. Randall speaking at the community meeting. (Picture taken by Giveily Chavarria.)

“I know, if this was my children, my sons. The first thing I’d be feeling is not anger or frustration or any of that, the first thing I’d be feeling is fear,” said Phyllis J. Randall, a substance abuse therapist under the National Associations of Countries and Human resources Committee.


On November 4th, 2023, Park View High School held a fentanyl prevention and awareness presentation. Organizers of the event believe that the cause of this issue is mostly mental health related. In the meeting, many mental health professionals presented and spoke on the issue. They stated how they don’t only see the criminal side of this issue but also recognize the addiction side. 


“There’s a big mental health crisis with students in general,” said Jacqueline Dailey, a Loudoun County mental health substance abuse and developmental service worker. 

Park View Activities Coordinator Natasha Jeter watches a presentation at the community meeting.

Park View administration and other officials emphasized the importance of mental health, and many of the talks organized by Park View administration have stated how the uprising in overdoses is influenced by kids going through a hard time that don’t know where to get help, or are afraid to ask for help. 


”This is not a Park View issue; it’s not even a Loudoun County issue. This is a nationwide scourge,” said Randall.


Not all overdoses have happened at school, but an undisclosed number of them have. This has affected the students and staff of Park View, with staff members needing to revive two students so far this year. 


Rose Castellano, a teacher, had to witness a revival when one of her students came into her classroom and suddenly dropped and became unresponsive. One of the school nurses and a security guard responded to the emergency, used Narcan spray, and performed CPR on the student until paramedics arrived.


“It’s hard to give a kid CPR and bring them back. I don’t want to do that anymore,” said Dr. Jefferson, principal of Park View High School.

Bryan Wacker speaking at the community meeting. (Picture taken by Giveily Chavarria)

Bryan Wacker, a police officer, stated how this presentation is the first of many at schools in Loudoun County, and other places in Loudoun County. He mentions how these presentations are meant to bring awareness to the community and parents.


”100% this will be the first of what will be more, and more, and more of these to come,” said Wacker.


At the presentation, many resources and information were provided, including Narcan spray and information about safes designed for locking medication. The presentation was given in English and Spanish. Resources are also available to people who ask counselors and nurses at Park View. On Loudoun County’s official website there is a training program called Revive that shows people how to use Narcan and order it.


”We get counseling involved because they can reach out and recommend [special resources],” said Abigail Perez, Park View’s school nurse.


After the event, Park View administrators said they will continue to raise awareness and find other solutions to these problems. Dr. Jefferson mentioned possible solutions that may be implemented in the future, like a detection dog to find drugs and in-school presentations educating students on drugs.


“One of the things we are going to do…we will have drug sniffing dogs in our building,” said Dr. Jefferson.


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug. When taking this drug, users typically feel sensations of relaxation and euphoria. Since fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine it is also medically used as painkillers for cancer patients. This drug is usually Illegally sold as a powder and mixed in with other drugs like cocaine and heroin.

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