- Coppell Independent School District
Message from the Superintendent: Fentanyl and Coppell ISD
February 16, 2023
Dear Coppell ISD families,
Over the past few years, I have reached out to you with messages about vaping and bursting the Coppell ISD “bubble” about drug use and abuse in our district and community. With the recent news from our neighbors in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, I feel compelled to once again share with our community my concerns about another threat to our students and families — Fentanyl.
In addition to the information about Fentanyl shared in this message, CISD is working with the Coppell Police Department and other agencies to bring in a speaker for our families on this topic in the next few weeks. We also hope to provide more experts and resources on this topic throughout the spring semester. Information about these events will be shared with you as soon as they are scheduled. We are also working with our school administrators and counselors to offer age-appropriate enrichment programs for our students, as well as training on Fentanyl awareness for our staff and parents.
In addition, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, our CISD Board of Trustees will have a meeting to consider a district policy allowing school nurses to have Naloxone on campuses to treat Fentanyl overdoses, should these occur at our schools. We believe this step will provide us with additional resources to help keep our children safe.
The district is also partnering with Shatterproof, the leading advocacy group dedicated to ending the devastation that addiction causes families, to offer additional resources for our families. As part of this partnership, the incredible Colleen Michaelis, our PE teacher at Pinkerton Elementary and a CISD parent, recorded this video sharing the powerful story of her wonderful son, Tommy, who died of a drug overdose. We will be launching the Shatterproof Community site in the next few weeks, which will provide current information on all types of addiction and resources for getting help.
The CISD Prevention and Wellness website has resources available for parents, families and community members at www.coppellisd.com/Page/16926.
Fentanyl is a man-made, Schedule II narcotic that has reached a growing number of communities in DFW and across Texas, affecting many lives including those of high school and middle school students and even younger. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), within the last two years, teen overdose deaths related to Fentanyl have tripled. Over half of all overdose deaths are related to Fentanyl use. Death from Fentanyl overdose happens when the respiratory system slows or not enough oxygen gets to the brain.
Fentanyl is a manufactured opiate drug that is generally used in the medical field to treat severe pain. It is typically used in emergency situations and given by paramedics and in emergency rooms. Sadly, an underground market has developed for this drug, and it is often marketed to youth. Fentanyl can come in many forms, and even the smallest amount can be lethal. It is frequently mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Prescription medications can also be laced with it. There have been some cases where the Fentanyl pills were made to look like candy or over-the-counter medication. Oftentimes, teens and children who receive a pill have no idea that what they are taking has Fentanyl in it.
So what can we do as parents to prevent our children from falling prey to this serious and deadly trend?
1) Talk to your child. Talk about the dangers that they may face at parties and social events. Let them know that they can talk to you about things that are concerning them.
2) Remind your child that they should never take any pills from friends or strangers, and pills should only be given to them by their parents or by medical personnel.
3) Monitor their social media and app usage. This is a common way that children get access to this drug.
4) Encourage your child to get involved with extracurricular activities, service projects, and community, faith-based and school organizations. Keeping your child involved can help battle loneliness, isolation and hopelessness.
5) Use STOPit, the CISD anonymous reporting system, or Crimestoppers, which are both available at www.coppellisd.com/tipline, to report Fentanyl use may be occurring in the schools or that someone may be abusing it. Encourage your child to do the same. You could save a life.
7) Monitor your child’s behavior and physical appearance. Has their behavior or physical appearance changed lately? Do they have a new set of “friends”? Are they keeping to themselves more often than usual?
8) Seek help from your school counselor if your child is facing a mental health challenge or if you suspect they are using any substance.
As a parent, I share your concerns. As your superintendent, I am committed to doing all we can to keep our children safe. I know by working together as parents, educators, students, staff and law enforcement, we can help keep our children safe from Fentanyl.
Dr. Brad A. Hunt