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LUBBOCK, Texas — The City of Lubbock Health Department confirmed on Tuesday at least one non-fatal fentanyl overdose in a local school and urged parents to talk with their children about the dangers of substance use.
While details on the overdose are limited, health officials said they think the student used a vape or ate an edible that was laced with fentanyl.
Officials were not able to specify which Lubbock-area school the overdose occurred at.
The department also said it believes there are more cases that have gone unreported.
“The age of onset, which determines the likelihood of somebody having addiction issues in the future and struggling, is really low in West Texas. There are some studies that show that we have youth starting to use substances at 8-years-old here, and then we have a pretty high number who started about 13,” said Meagan Miller, Behavioral Health Manager for City of Lubbock.
Fentanyl, even in tiny doses, can be fatal, but city health officials have other concerns too.
“They could become addicted to nicotine, start vaping THC, and then now, we’re seeing the potential of that being laced with fentanyl as well,” Miller explained. “It’s not just something you’re doing to fit in with your friends, but it’s something that could potentially be dangerous in the short term and definitely in the long term.”
Public Health Liaison for the City of Lubbock Genesis St. Clair said having open and honest conversations may be the best way to prevent and educate your children on substance use disorders.
“I think that a lot of times parents can come at it, saying, ‘you might be doing this,’ instead of just saying, ‘Hey, can we talk about issues? Are there things that you see at your school and your peer population,’ and really just kind of go from that angle,” she recommended.
If you don’t know where to start, the health department has a group called “H.E.A.R.D.” which stands for Helping Every Adolescent Reach Their Dreams. It focuses on prevention and education so that young people don’t fall into lifelong addictions.
“We actually have a H.E.A.R.D. Facebook page and so, they can go to that as well and find a little bit of information. And there’s also a website. So, they can find that through the health department’s website and it’s under behavioral health,” St. Clair shared.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use, or if you’re a parent trying to educate your children on the dangers, see pages 53-55 of the city’s Prevention Resource Center for a list of resources available in West Texas.