‘Fake and Fatal:’ D-11 launches campaign to combat fentanyl epidemic in Colorado Springs schools
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - We’ve learned three D-11 students have died of fentanyl overdoses this year.
That includes a local teen, who authorities say became unresponsive in class at Mitchell High School and tragically died at the hospital. Alexis Wilkins is accused of giving fentanyl to teens on multiple occasions in that case.
A few days after her arrest, we are hearing from parents and the school district about the battle against this epidemic. One of the ways school leaders are doing that is by arming staff with Narcan.
“They have to go through training and they have to be able to be certified to be able to administer Narcan,” D-11 Chief Communications Officer Devra Ashby said. “School nurses, security personnel, some of our SROs, those who are trained to administer first-aid and lifesaving techniques are typically the ones that will be able to administer Narcan.”
The new policy was passed by the school board last month.
“We know that we need to be proactive and the board recognized that too,” Ashby added.
D-11 is also doing multiple campaigns to educate students about deadly pills that seem so easy to get.
“It’s out there, if they have an app on their phone and they’re on that social media platform, it’s likely they have access,” Ashby said.
The district is launching a campaign called ‘Fake and Fatal’ to try and educate students about the dangers of fentanyl.
“We were able to adapt a campaign that was actually started in a school district on the west coast to our own campaign because the school district said, you know, it’s not proprietary,” explained Ashby “It’s about saving.”
The school hopes to add a student-led panel to help combat the problem as well.
“We have had staff saying, what do we need to learn? What do we need to know? What kind of resources that are out there? We had three sort of back-to-back-to-back and knew that we needed to do equip staff with knowledge,” Ashby added.
In the most recently-announced case, authorities say a Mitchell High Student took a deadly dose of fentanyl in a school bathroom. Court papers say Alexis Wilkins sold pills to some teenage girls in the parking lot of the Citadel Mall and they took them to school.
Parents 11 News spoke with say they are taking matters into their own hands.
“I got that email and I was just like, what are they doing at your school? This is ridiculous. I was like, that’s just scary,” D11 parent Candace Brown said. “I read him word for word, the email. And I was like, one pill can kill you. I don’t care what your friends are doing. I don’t care if they tell you it’s Skittles--don’t take anything from them.”
According to the district, parents like Brown have the right idea. D-11 hopes equipping staff with knowledge and Narcan, in addition to spreading awareness to students can prevent the next student from making a deadly decision.
“The ultimate goal is to save lives. One child death is one too many, and our goal is to bring awareness, have the conversations, make sure students and kids understand the severity and make sure families are having those conversations so that we can save lives,” Ashby said.
D-11 is also providing counseling for students that are grieving.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
You can call the Colorado Addiction Hotline at 866-210-1303.
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