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Oak Park High School student dies from pill laced with fentanyl

Fentanyl student
Posted at 12:45 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 23:14:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A student at Oak Park High School passed away Tuesday from an overdose, according to the North Kansas City School District.

The district said that the sophomore died after taking a pill that ended up containing a lethal amount of fentanyl. They took the pill on Thursday and passed away Tuesday afternoon.

The school was in normal session for Wednesday, but additional support staff was made available for students who may need help with the grieving process.

A district spokesperson said they will be working with the Clay County Sheriff's Department and Tri-County Mental Health to provide education services and support to their school community in the near future.

"It was important to the family to make the public aware of the dangers of taking any non-prescribed pills and the potentially fatal consequences," a district spokesperson said.

The Gladstone Police Department has asked the Clay County Sheriff's Department to investigate the student's death, and a spokesperson for Gladstone police said that they are trying to find the dealer and people higher up the ladder.

Counterfeit prescription drugs laced with a fatal amount of fentanyl have become more common in recent years.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department recently held a press conference to urge parents to have conversations with their children about the dangers of purchasing counterfeit medications and fentanyl.

"I can’t imagine getting that phone call and I hope it's something that wasn't passed around at the school. I just, my heart goes out to the family," said one mother of a freshman student at Oak Park High School.

RELATED: KCPD intercepts transport of fentanyl brick, Drug dog Zeus alerts KCPD to 9 lbs of fentanyl-laced pills

School-aged children and young adults, ranging from 15-20 years old are most likely to fall victim to the drugs.

"It's really young, but unfortunately that’s the people we are seeing who are using and experimenting and thinking things are going to be okay,” Sarah Boyd with the Clay County Sheriff's Department said.

More often, fentanyl overdoses are becoming fatal because of the minuscule amount of the drug it takes to be lethal. The Clay County Sheriff's Department says it has superseded meth in terms of their priorities.

"There’s really more than a 2/5 chance that you will die when you take one of those,” Boyd said.

The Clay County Sheriff's Department has also warned of an increase in the dangerous drugs in the Northland. There has been an increase in the number of deaths from fatal fentanyl overdoses and an increase in non-fatal overdoses as well.

“Nobody thinks this will happen to their kid and there’s really not any kind of socioeconomic divider on who gets killed by this,” Boyd said.

Just last week, two men in Trenton, Missouri, were federally indicted for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in the area. The Clay County Sheriff's Department says the hope to pursue federal charges, which could lead to a sentence ranging from 25 years-life.

The counterfeit pills laced with the deadly drug often look like oxycodone, Adderall or Xanax.

The mother of a student at Oak Park High School said that the tragedy is a reminder that communicating with your kids is more important than ever.

"Make sure you talk to your kids. Make sure that they can talk to you. Make sure they know that this world is crazy and anything can happen," the mother said.

Tri-County Mental Health Services created a website called Parent Up to help Kansas City Northland parents "care, connect, communicate and pay careful attention to their child in order to prevent teen substance use."

Parent Up created a handout for parents to inform them about the rising danger of fentanyl-laced pills.

"Keep an eye on your kid's phones we’re finding the vast majority of kids are finding dealers through social media, Snapchat's a big one. You’re paying for the phone, you get to look at what’s in there, and you should because it could be life or death," Boyd said.

Editor's note — KSHB 41 is not naming the student due to the student's age.