Fairfax County high school student dies following overdose

A Fairfax County high school student died of an overdose Monday night, according to a letter sent home to families at Justice High School.

The letter doesn’t specify where or when the overdose occurred, only saying that they will be making resources available to any students or parents who may need them. 

"We do want to be sure that every parent and caregiver has appropriate resources, as we know that substance misuse continues to be a problem in Fairfax County, as well as throughout the Commonwealth and nationwide," Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Michelle Reid wrote. 

Reid encouraged families to communicate with their students about substance abuse and stay vigilant as the opioid crisis continues to impact millions. 

It’s the latest report of a Virginia high school student overdose. 

Earlier this year, a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old were arrested and charged with distributing fentanyl to two girls who overdosed at Wakefield High School last month. 

Just last week, on Nov. 28, police responded to North Star School in Loudoun County for a suspected overdose. The student was reported in stable condition when officers responded around 9:50 a.m. 

And nine overdoses have been reported among students at Park View High School in Loudoun County. 

According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, four of the overdoses happened inside the school, three required the use of Narcan, and staff had to administer CPR on two of those occasions. The five other reported overdoses happened off campus but investigators determined they were Park View students.

LCSO said it has allocated additional resources to investigate what’s behind the rash of overdoses, where the dangerous drugs are coming from and who is distributing them to the students. 

The school, like many others, says it is working to train staff and supply schools with Narcan. 

Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order at the beginning of November directing the Virginia Department of Education to issue guidance ensuring school divisions notify all parents of school-connected overdoses within 24 hours, work closely with law enforcement to prevent overdoses and enhance student education about the dangers of abusing drugs. 

The executive order also requires that Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Education notify parents within 24 hours of a student overdose that has occurred within a school system — something Fairfax County Public Schools sadly had to do. 

"Substance abuse is an ongoing challenge for our Commonwealth and out nation. Here is Fairfax County Public Schools, we will continue our strong collaboration with health officials, law enforcement and families to keep our students safe," the letter ends. 

The school district encourages students and parents to immediately report any safety concerns to them.