Ninth Park View High School student overdose reported, Loudoun County Sheriff's Office says

A ninth student at Park View High School overdosed on fentanyl Tuesday, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office confirmed to FOX 5. The incident happened off campus but it’s the latest one reported in a span of just three weeks. 

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.

The Sheriff’s Office said the fentanyl may be in the commonly found form of counterfeit 30 mg oxycodone pills that are blue, circular and may be stamped "M30." 

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. 

"We are putting all available resources into identifying who is responsible for distributing these lethal drugs," Sheriff Mike Chapman said in a statement. "We have also encouraged LCPS to continue its communications with the Park View community and have offered our assistance with additional educational and security measures."

The superintendent for Loudoun County Public Schools is calling the issue a "crisis." 

"I am concerned and saddened by this crisis impacting the Park View community," LCPS Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said. 

Spence says the school is actively working to train staff and supply schools with Narcan. The district also sent a letter to Park View families with information on the recent events and says grade-level assemblies and parent meetings are being held. 

"We began to address fentanyl awareness last spring, with a series of six community information sessions and will continue this effort division-wide," Spence added. 

But some say they are frustrated about how this was communicated. Families learned Tuesday that this has been happening over the last three weeks.

When asked about the communication to parents, the school pointed FOX 5 toward a community message about the dangers of fentanyl that went out earlier this week but it made no specific mention of the ongoing issue at Park View.

Tiffany Polifko is the school board representative for this area. She commends the county for all the outreach it’s done about the dangers of fentanyl but wants answers about why it’s taken this long for families to find out.

"My primary concern is the delay, the lag in time. I’m still not understanding where that breakdown was, why that occurred. I myself am still trying to get answers to those questions. I don’t have that information in front of me yet but clearly, there was a delay. I don’t know exactly what it was that led to that delay, and I’m trying to find out," Polifko said.

FOX 5 also spoke with Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares. He says student privacy issues don’t preclude a district from notifying parents of an overdose, and believes it should have happened sooner here.

"That gives the parents the freedom to have that conversation with a child and the fact that for multiple weeks they never bothered to tell parents, I’m just flabbergasted. That’s the first rule of a school district: before you give a child a great education, make sure they’re safe. Part of that is making sure parents are informed and the lack of information, I find astonishing," Miyares said.

Miyares added he wouldn’t be surprised to see legislation proposed to require school districts to notify parents every time there’s an overdose but feels like it should be happening without creating a law.

FOX 5 reached out to the district to ask additional questions about why nothing was put out before this week. 

A spokesperson said, "LCPS follows internal processes for identifying and reporting any suspected overdose. When a student experiences symptoms that show they may be under the influence of a substance, school nurses follow an impairment screening process which may lead to further medical interventions and/or calling the student’s family."

"LCPS is not always made aware of any subsequent treatment or medical diagnoses when a student is transported to receive help," the statement reads. "Any private information that might identify a student would not be released by the school system, however, if a situation may require law enforcement investigation, the lead investigating agency may be able to provide more specific information about a particular incident."

The school district says it has been conducting fentanyl awareness education since the spring, including at Park View, but it is not able to reveal any information publicly that may identify a student in crisis. 

"It is important to remember that suspected recent overdoses in the Park View community in particular involve both former and current students outside of school hours, as well as some students who have reported to school with visible symptoms," the statement reads.

"It’s a problem that really needs to be addressed, so we need the parents, we need the students, we need the teachers we need everyone focused on this so we can get to the source of the problem, so we can stop it. It’s going to take a law enforcement capability in order to try and put an end to this," Chapman said.

 We are partnering with LCSO in a community event Saturday, November 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Park View to provide further education to our community. 

Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order Wednesday evening in response to the issue at Park View High School. 

Executive Order Twenty-Eight directs 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. 

"Parents have a right to know what’s going on in their child's lives, especially in schools. Overdoses that occur on school grounds or are connected to the school must lead to an immediate parental notification," the governor said in a statement. "School administrators’ first instinct when there is a problem cannot be to delay relevant information on critical children's health and safety matters - it must be passed on to parents immediately. Opioid overdoses have claimed the lives of far too many Virginians, devastating families and communities across the Commonwealth and we must continue to combat opioid abuse and overdoses with action and transparency."  

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.

Below is the letter that was sent to families Wednesday evening:

 Dear LCPS Families, 

I want to address the community about the prevalence of Fentanyl in some of our schools and communities. The use of this powerful, synthetic opioid is affecting young people across the nation, and sadly our LCPS students are no exception. 

To date this school year, our records indicate LCPS has had 10 suspected overdoses across six of our high schools. This is based on a definition that includes: they receive medical treatment for suspected overdose that includes Narcan, medical transport, and/or CPR. In this case, what this means is 10 students were transported for treatment of symptoms related to a suspected opioid overdose and four of those 10 students had one or more doses of Naloxone administered (three students at Park View High School and one student at Dominion High School have had Naloxone administered). The six schools where suspected overdoses have taken place are Broad Run, Briar Woods, Dominion, Loudoun County, Park View, and Tuscarora High Schools.  For comparison’s sake, four incidents required naloxone administration to students during the entire 22/23 school year. This number is concerning and distressing, and we will do everything in our power to ensure this does not continue. Please know that we take this issue seriously. We have processes in our schools for screening students suspected of drug use. Every time we become aware of suspected drug use or an overdose in our schools, we work directly with our parents and with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to investigate and address the incident.  And we will continue to collaborate with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office as well as other agencies to identify needed resources and supports for all of our schools.  

Of course, this isn't just a school issue--this is a local, state and national issue.  Schools reflect what is occurring in the community at large, which means this epidemic goes beyond our school walls.  While it is often difficult to say exactly where students are getting these drugs and using them, we do know that some of these students are ingesting drugs prior to school and suffering the effects while in school. We are also hearing reports of young people experiencing drug related medical emergencies outside of school. As I shared as part of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office media release yesterday, when students come to school we want them to learn and thrive. But, most of all we want them to be safe. Our staff and first responders are working together in critical situations to do everything they can to meet the crisis. That said, we cannot do it alone, and we need your help. 

Please talk with your children, teens and young people about the dangers of Fentanyl. Please talk with them about the dangers of taking any substance not authorized by their own parent, guardian or doctor. A recent DEA public health alert notes that "laboratory testing indicates 7 out of every 10 pills seized by DEA contain a lethal dose of fentanyl." Learn more at

LCPS is partnering with LCSO in a community event on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Park View High School to provide further education to the community.