‘It’s a Crisis’: Local SRO Says Schools Overrun by Fentanyl

Allen High School
Allen High School | Image by Allen ISD

A school resource officer opened up about students’ fentanyl use at the largest high school in the state, calling attention to what he referred to as a “crisis.”

SRO Matthew Johnson told CBS News Texas he has administered Narcan three times this year to students suspected of overdosing on fentanyl on the campus of Allen High School. The latest episode occurred on the day of the solar eclipse, with Johnson rushing to reports of an unresponsive male student in a restroom stall.

“Saw some contraband in his hand and indicated to me immediately it was probably an opioid overdose,” Johnson recalled, per CBS.

Johnson administered two Narcan doses to revive the high schooler.

“His respiratory rate was almost nonexistent,” Johnson said, per CBS. “He wasn’t breathing. He was foaming at the mouth … That kid might not [have] had five more minutes. He was on really bad terms the way we found him.”

Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that is cheap and relatively easy to produce, making it the driver behind the steady rise in opioid-related deaths nationwide these past few years. Narcan is a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and save a person’s life.

In North Texas, the fentanyl-laced pills peddled by criminals are typically blue and labeled “M30” to mimic Percocet, as covered by The Dallas Express. This means someone might not knowingly take fentanyl and expose himself to a potentially fatal dose, which can be as minuscule as 2 milligrams.

“It’s a crisis,” Johnson told CBS. “It’s everywhere and the scary part is these kids think they’re doing a real prescription pill.”

In 2023, Allen saw 24 fentanyl-related overdoses, 11 of which were fatal. This year has seen eight overdoses, but none have been fatal, which Allen police attribute to the availability of Narcan. Yet knowing how to administer the life-saving drug, as Johnson recently did, is crucial.

“You know I can’t say enough about what he did,” Lt. Darrin Whitman of the Allen Police Department told CBS. “You know to be there, to be calm, you know, to take action. All of our officers are trained that way.”

In Dallas, as of April 12, there have been 2,657 drug-related criminal offenses reported this year, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Such crimes increased by 1.9% compared to the same period last year. In some council districts, there has been a significant spike from 2023, such as Council Member Adam Bazaldua’s District 7, where drug crime has risen by 55%.

The increase in drug offenses has coincided with an ongoing police shortage at the Dallas Police Department. A City report previously advised that the Dallas Police Department has around 4,000 officers, yet it currently only maintains a force of around 3,000.

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