This is a very difficult time for our schools and community as we work to address the increasing use of opioids, and specifically fentanyl, affecting our youth. Our hearts are with all the families directly affected. Combating this issue requires a community-wide response including at home, in school, and in public. As a community we must stay vigilant and well-informed, and work together.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid which is often added to other drugs that look like something else, and even the smallest dose—a single pill—can be fatal. Arlington Public Schools has many efforts in place to combat the opioid crisis through ongoing education, counseling and prevention, and we are taking several immediate steps to strengthen and support our existing programming, in partnership with the County and community partners.
- APS Community Conversations on Substance Abuse and Opioids are being planned in February and March to provide staff and families with the tools needed to recognize warning signs and start conversations with students. Dates and times will be released in the coming weeks.
- APS has Naloxone (also known as NARCAN®) Nasal Spray available at every middle and high school, with personnel in each school trained to administer this treatment. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose, and APS is working to increase the supply of Naloxone in each school.
- Naloxone Nasal Spray, and training for using it, is available for FREE through Arlington County. There are two upcoming classes in February, focused on recognizing the signs of opioid use, addiction, overdose, and how to respond using Naloxone. Additional information can be found the Arlington County website.
If you have concerns about someone you believe may be using opioids and needs help, please contact your school counselor or a substance abuse counselor. In an emergency, dial 911 and use the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or text to 741741 for free 24/7 support. Visit our In Crisis/Need Help Now Page for a full list of resources.
Here is additional information about fentanyl, APS substance abuse prevention efforts and opioid action plan, as well as resources for families.
The Arlington School Board will also hold a work session on Tue, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. on the topic of Opioids and Substance Use in APS: Education and Prevention. The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast. Visit our page on School Board Work Sessions for more information.
Thank you for your partnership and support.
Dr. Francisco Durán