- Coppell Independent School District
Message from the Superintendent: Upcoming Fentanyl Prevention Presentations
April 11, 2023
Dear Coppell ISD Families,
As a follow up to my previous communication about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse that I have shared with you, Coppell ISD is working on a proactive approach to educating our students, staff, and community about these substance abuse dangers, specifically of Fentanyl (Fentanyl Fact Sheet in English and Spanish).
Fentanyl is a manufactured opiate drug that is generally used in the medical field to treat severe pain. 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 contains Fentanyl. Fentanyl is 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.
Our CISD School Health Advisory Council, or SHAC, has partnered with district staff in collaborating, giving feedback and approving our district plan for moving forward with specific drug awareness opportunities for learners. SHAC members include students, teachers, staff, parents and community members.
We are so lucky to have Colleen Michaelis, a Coppell ISD parent and the PE teacher at Pinkerton Elementary, who will present information at every CISD middle school and high school in the next few weeks. She will share on the topic “Addiction Doesn’t Have a Zip Code.” This video will give you more insight into her experience and story. We will also be hosting a Parent University on May 3 with Colleen Michaelis on “Addiction Does Not Have a Zip Code."
I had the pleasure of having Tommy as a student when I was principal at Coppell High School and from the bottom of my heart, I thank Colleen for sharing her and Tommy’s story with us to help save lives. As a friend, fellow parent and colleague of hers for many years, I appreciate more than words can say her bravery, vulnerability and passion in sharing her story with us all.
At the middle school and high school level, as a part of Colleen’s presentation, students will receive information on Fentanyl and will be watching the following video — Dead on Arrival.
We are all in this together and as I often say, parents are our partners in tackling these tough issues and educating our students. So what can parents do to prevent our children from falling prey to this serious and deadly trend? It is my hope that as a family, you watch the Dead on Arrival video with your child, as age appropriate. We feel this video is appropriate for students in 6th to 12th grade. After the video, here are some conversation starters:
- 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.
- 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.
- Monitor their social media and app usage. This is a common way that children get access to this drug.
- 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.
- Use STOPit, the CISD anonymous reporting system, or Crimestoppers, which are both available at www.coppellisd.com/tipline to report Fentanyl use that may be occurring in the schools or that someone may be abusing fentanyl/drugs. Encourage your child to do the same. You could save a life.
- 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?
- Seek help from your school counselor if your child is facing a mental health challenge or if you suspect they are using any substance.
This is a heavy topic and one that needs all of us working together to help address. In the following months, you can expect more information from CISD on Fentanyl and other dangerous drug trends. We continue to partner with the Coppell Police Department and other law enforcement personnel to raise awareness about this topic in our community. As a parent, educator and your superintendent, I thank you for your support in these endeavors, as we work together to keep our children safe.
Dr. Brad A Hunt