Elementary School Children Hospitalized After Consuming Fentanyl-Laced Gummies

AMHERST, VA – A disturbing incident unfolded at Central Elementary School in Amherst, Virginia, when five students required medical attention after consuming gummy bears laced with fentanyl. The powerful synthetic opioid was found in candies that one of the students had brought from home, according to school officials.

The Amherst County Sheriff’s Office reported that seven students experienced adverse reactions after ingesting the gummy bears at school. Law enforcement later examined the candies and confirmed the presence of fentanyl, a substance known for its potency and its role in the ongoing opioid crisis.

In a statement by the Sheriff’s Office, it was revealed that five of the seven students who consumed the tainted candies needed medical attention. Two of these students were transported by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) due to the severity of their symptoms. The remaining three students were taken to receive medical care by their parents. The incident is currently under active investigation by local law enforcement.

In an official statement, Amherst County Public Schools confirmed that one of the students brought the bag of gummy bears from home. The school district fully cooperates with the Sheriff’s Office as they continue investigating this deeply concerning incident. The students’ families involved in the incident have been informed of the situation and the preliminary investigation results.

This incident is not an isolated one. It follows a series of worrying events at a high school in Loudoun, Virginia. According to reports from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, seven students at the same high school overdosed within three weeks in October. All these overdoses involved fentanyl, a substance that is often found disguised as a counterfeit 30 mg oxycodone pill, making it particularly dangerous.

The incident at Central Elementary School in Amherst is a stark reminder of the ongoing opioid crisis that continues to plague the nation. It underlines the importance of vigilance and awareness among law enforcement, school authorities, parents, and caregivers. The incident serves as a wake-up call to the dangers lurking in seemingly innocent items like gummy bears and the potential risks they can pose to unsuspecting children.

The school district and the Sheriff’s Office are working together to ensure students’ safety and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. The well-being of students remains the top priority for the school district and law enforcement. The incident has underscored the need for increased awareness and education about the dangers of drugs, especially among young students.

Similarly, in New York, Francesca Barreiro, a mother of five, has voiced her concerns over a city-sanctioned drug center located across the street from her children’s Head Start program. Barreiro, an alumna of the program, is distressed by the situation.

The center operates under the nonprofit OnPoint NYC and was established as an overdose prevention center. It provides drug users with a safe space to consume narcotics under medical supervision, equipped with clean needles and naloxone, a drug used to counteract overdoses. While its advocates argue that it offers a life-saving intervention in the face of a growing overdose death toll, critics like Barreiro believe it encourages drug use rather than promoting treatment and recovery.

Barreiro, a lifelong resident of New York City, has to navigate the disturbing scenes of drug abuse on her way to and from the school. She has to shield her children from the sight of drug users loitering outside the center, some of whom appear to be in a drug-induced stupor. The situation has escalated to the point where the school has stopped outdoor activities for the children due to the changes in the neighborhood.

Barreiro’s concerns are shared by other parents, leading to the establishment of a monthly meeting between OnPoint staff and local officials. However, Barreiro remains skeptical about the effectiveness of the center. She argues that while the center may provide a haven for drug users, it does not offer a long-term solution to their addiction.

Since its establishment, OnPoint reports that over 4,000 people have used the two Manhattan centers more than 106,000 times, and 1,235 overdoses have been reversed. Despite these figures, Barreiro believes the centers do more harm than good. She argues that they should focus on motivating people with an addiction to seek treatment rather than enabling their addiction.

Barreiro’s concerns come amidst a nationwide spike in drug overdoses. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths increased by 30% to 93,655 between 2019 and 2020. Over 111,000 people died from drugs in the 12 months ending in June.

Despite the overdose reversals at OnPoint’s centers, New York City saw a record-high 3,026 fatal drug overdoses in 2022, more than double the 2019 total, according to the health department. Barreiro believes that OnPoint should shut down its centers and find a more effective way to help people with an addiction.

Neither OnPoint NYC nor the Graham School responded to requests for comment.