A Fairfax County, Virginia, high school community is in mourning after a student’s deadly overdose earlier this week.
Fairfax County police said they are investigating the overdose, which happened in Seven Corners on Monday. When they got to an apartment in the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive at around 6 p.m., police said they found an unconscious teenager. The teen was taken to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
The teenager was on a video call with a friend when she became unconscious, police said. Detectives found evidence that narcotics had been used.
In a note to the Justice High School community, obtained by WTOP, Principal Tiffany Narcisse described the incident as a “heartbreaking loss for our community.” The school has a crisis team on site in the aftermath of the incident, she wrote.
In a separate message, addressed to the FCPS community, Superintendent Michelle Reid said, “Out of concern for the student’s privacy, we will not be releasing further information about the circumstances of this incident.”
Reid’s note included tips from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, such as paying attention to children and discouraging risky behavior.
The communication comes weeks after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order requiring school districts to notify families about school-connected overdoses within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the incident marks the latest student overdose in the D.C. region, at a time when education officials are scrambling to warn students about the dangers of fentanyl and train staff members on how to administer naloxone, medication that can be administered to reverse an opiod overdose.
Kim Lanoue, PTSA president at Justice High School, said the school community is saddened.
“I’m not sure ‘sad’ really covers the depth of the feeling,” Lanoue said.
There’s a trend, Lanoue said, of drug use and overdoses among teenagers across the country, adding that while the Justice High community isn’t an outlier, it doesn’t seem to be happening more in their specific area than others.
“We are a part of an unfortunate trend in our country,” Lanoue said.
Anytime something like an overdose happens, Lanoue said she talks to her kids, first to learn whether they know the student involved, and then to offer support and let them know “we will always be there as parents to help them solve these problems.”
She also reminds them “that they have no idea what can be in any substance, and it’s just not worth taking the chance.”
Students, she said, are sensitive to what’s happening in their community, and “they’re very bright and astute and empathetic in regard to all of this.”