An Alabama high school student who died and four others who were hospitalized were likely exposed to something laced with fentanyl.
Police were called to Selma High School Tuesday after multiple students began showing sign of a health issue, with one 16-year-old male sophomore student ultimately dying and four others taken to a local hospital, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities began to suspect that the death and hospitalizations were due to a painkiller that may have been laced with fentanyl, though Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said that investigators are waiting on an autopsy and toxicology report before making a final determination.
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“It doesn’t take much to kill you,” Jackson said.
The other four students are expected to recover.
School Superintendent Zickeyous Byrd did not penalize students who missed classes Wednesday as a result of the tragedy, saying that “an event of this magnitude” didn’t just impact one family, but “affects us all.”
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Mayor James Perkins Jr. warned against jumping to conclusions in the case, saying that the 16-year-old victim, who has yet to be identified, was very close to him.
“Because the deceased is a juvenile, I will not mention him by name. Just know that his death is very close to me,” Perkins said in a statement. “I considered him a son.”
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Fentanyl has become the drive of the U.S. opioid crisis, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating around 75% of all drug overdose deaths the last few years were linked to fentanyl. Overall, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdose in 2021, the first time the country crossed into six figures.