Local schools are taking action on the fentanyl epidemic, as the deadly drug circulates in Riverside County.
According to Riverside County, there have been 214 fentanyl-related deaths in 2022 so far.
The drug comes in several forms and can be laced in any drug. Brightly colored pills are being marketed to be more appealing for kids.
The Desert Sands Unified School District held a workshop Monday night, urging parents to stay vigilant.
“It's a very scary time. And I think we need to educate ourselves," said parent Christine Heinzshort.
Heinzshort tells us her son is a student at La Quinta High School. With fentanyl circulating through campuses, she believes now is the best time to let kids know about how dangerous it really is.
“Makes me very nervous. I do not like the idea that our kids get advertised to take drugs on social media that is so easily available.”
Jennifer Loza, Founder of Ronnie’s House for Hope, lead the workshop. She knows firsthound how much fentanyl can impact lives.
“Steven, he's my baby. He had just graduated from high school. He was poisoned by fentanyl... and the people with him left him there to die and did nothing to try to save him," Loza explained.
She’s wants to spread awareness, so no parent, child or family has to go through what she did.
“Doing what I can to save lives, and being able to share Steven, it allows me to keep him with me. And he walks alongside me through this journey. We're doing it together, even though he's not here.”
Loza urges everyone to have Narcan to be prepared in the case of an overdose, or even death. She emphasizes that with fentanyl, even one pill can kill.
“So equivalent to two grains of salt is all is that's needed," she added, "I think Narcan is extremely important it there are no negative side effects. And it can literally save a life, the people that were with my son had Narcan in their possession and chose not to use it.”
Loza hopes that by sharing her experience, parents can be a step ahead in protecting their kids.
“To help our children to recognize what drugs can do today," Heinzshort added, "I hope we can spread the word and more parents get involved with some more parents get involved. So more people and info on our children we can save.”
DSUSD will be holding another parent workshop about the dangers of fentanyl this Wednesday (Nov.30) at 5:30p.m. at Indio High School. Anyone is welcome to attend.
For more information, to get training on how to use Narcan and receive your own kits, click here.