YUMA, Ariz. - Just last year, the San Luis Police Department reported 16 overdose calls resulting in one fatality. Since the start of 2019, the department has had more than 14 calls and another death reported sparking concern among parents in San Luis.
There have been two reported overdoses linked to fentanyl at Yuma High School, according to verified sources with KSWT.
“Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever and it very potent,” said Lieutenant Marcos Santana, with San Luis police. “It is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine.”
High school students know it as the blue pill with the marking M30 on it.
“The common demographics are 15 to 18-year-olds. They are powdering a fentanyl pill called M30,” said Luis Cebreros, a paramedic with San Luis Fire.
Even though the pill says 30, insinuating it is a 30-milligram pill, Lieutenant Santana said the pills are clandestinely made meaning there is no control as to how much is inserted in one pill.
“Based on the ones that we came in contact with, the toxicology reports are stating it is not just fentanyl there are other substances with it,” Lieutenant Santana said.
The antidote used during an overdose is Narcan, an overdose antidote all law enforcement carry on them. It can be administered through the nostril.
In December of last year, the San Luis Police Department (SLPD) reached out to the Yuma Union High School District after multiple reports of high school students overdosing, according to SLPD. Informational flyers were given to the district for distribution.
“The flyers were specifically about the M30 fentanyl pill that has raised concerns for first responders there,” said Eric Patten, Communications Director for YUHSD.
Over the years the district has been taking part in Drug Impairment Training for Educational Professionals. It is run by the Department of Education and trains administrators, nurses, and resource officers on campus to recognize intoxication.
“Any sort of substance abuse our parents should be worried about,” said Tim Brienza, Associate Superintendent for YUHSD and father of a high school student. “ I think I am a good parent but what other external factors could influence my child that I don’t know about?”
Narcan, an overdose antidote, is not stored on campus but Brienza hopes that will change over time.
“I think it is something we need to look into. Anything that can help save a life or reduce the effects of something for any student,” Brienza said.
For parents in need of a resource, Arizona Complete Health is an organization that connects people in a crisis with the proper providers
“The crisis line is available for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you think it is a crisis or not,” said Maria Chavoya with Arizona Complete Health.
The 24-hour crisis line is 1-866-495-6735.
Chavoya attended a PTO meeting last month in San Luis when parents started to express concern.
“We are faced with the fentanyl issue right now,” Chavoya said. “Parents want help addressing that and that is why we brought in our providers. We brought them to the table last week during a coalition meeting in San Luis because our providers are ultimately the ones that will address that.”
Providers are reached through the 24-hour crisis line.
Parents in San Luis have arranged a community forum on February 28 that will be held at the Cesar Chavez building in San Luis. Parents will be able to speak with providers and ask questions about the dangers of fentanyl.
Sonoran Prevention Works and HOPE Incorporated are hosting an overdose prevention and Narcan training in March. There will be two opportunities on March 6 at 10 a.m. and March 7 at 5:30 p.m.at the Martin Luther King Youth Career Center, 300 S. 13th Ave in Yuma.
For more information on the event email Christopher Thomas at email@example.com.