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San Jose School Principal Saves Student Apparently Overdosing on Fentanyl

A South Bay high school principal is being hailed as a hero after saving a student who was apparently overdosing on fentanyl in the school office.

San Jose police said the incident is not necessarily a local school crisis, but rather a community crisis that sometimes trickles onto school campuses.

The incident occurred Wednesday at Overfelt High School. A student allegedly swallowed a pill laced with fentanyl and overdosed just after school ended.

“Ultimately, you go into a position where you can ultimately die,” San Jose Police Officer Steve Aponte said.

But police said the principal’s quick thinking likely kept this story from a much more tragic ending. He gave the student Narcan and when paramedics arrived, the student was on her back and breathing.

“The school did an excellent job with getting that student safe and secure with fire and medical, and curtailing the medical emergency,” Aponte said.

The principal said there was nothing heroic about it and said he credits his team for knowing what to do.

“It’s a scary feeling because when you’re dealing with addiction, you know that same student is going to be struggling with for a while,” Overfelt High School Principal Vito Chiala said. “Addiction is a hard thing to break.”

The CDC reports that in 2020, more than 56,000 people nationwide died from overdose involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The drug is described as being 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Santa Clara County is now pushing to distribute free Narcan kits through vending machines across the region, including in schools.

At Overfelt, 18 teachers and staff members are trained to administer the life-saving medicine. The district sent parents a letter Friday alerting them to be aware of potential risks of the drug showing up this Halloween.

“We’re trying to create awareness so that if this happens in our community or in our neighborhood, with our families, that we know how to keep each other safe,” Chiala said.

Police also said they want to make it clear that when they respond to a school after an overdose, they’re not there to criminalize the victim, but are trying to get information on the person providing the drugs.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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