Portland-metro area schools trying to educate students about fentanyl

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:54 PM PST
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GRESHAM, Ore. (KPTV) - After two Portland Public School students died from a possible fentanyl exposure, renewed conversations about the drug are happening on school campuses across the metro area.

Jarom Sweazey is a school resource officer for the Gresham Police Department. He said students aren’t necessarily bringing drugs to campus, but it still does happen. Sweazey helps educate students in his school about the dangers of fentanyl in their freshman health class.

He said he gets calls from parents and staff members from other schools asking about drugs they’ve confiscated from students. In December of last year, a picture of pills someone sent him did test positive for fentanyl. The student who had the pills did not take them.

“It’s really concerning,” Sweazey said. “We do our best to educate parents and staff to what to look for.”

In the Beaverton School District, they’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the ‘Fake and Fatal’ campaign. The district launched this as a way to educate students and parents about fentanyl after the death of student Cal Epstein. Shellie Bailey-Shah is a spokesperson for the district. She said the program has been successful at educating their community about the drug.

“All of our students receive drug education in their health classes but now there is a specific curriculum that has to do with fentanyl awareness so all of our middle and high schools are hearing that every year,” Bailey-Shah said.

Bailey-Shah said they’ve made their curriculum public so any school can use their lessons plans. She said schools around the country have been reaching out to implement similar programs on their campuses.

“We’re more than willing to share in the hopes the word gets out to those who need to hear it,” Bailey-Shah said.