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  • Cynthia Deng and Conner Emery

Fighting Fentanyl

CVCHS students attended “One Pill Can Kill” assemblies in November on the role of fentanyl in the opioid epidemic.

CVCHS partnered with MDUSD, the CVCHS Black Student Union, and the MDUSD African American Student Achievement Equity & Disproportionality Department to organize the assemblies. Students listened to a presentation during Ugly Hour on the danger of fentanyl and addiction with a special appearance by overdose survivor Langston Jackson.

“It is important to engage with and educate young people about the dangers of fentanyl,” said Dave Fehte, the executive director. “That’s why CVCHS is actively engaged with our families in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental manner to help students stay safe.”

“One Pill Can Kill” is an awareness campaign recently launched by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In the shadow of “Just Say No,” the intent of educators and enforcers is to communicate the danger of fentanyl and its derivatives without oversimplifying the complexities of addiction and drug use.

“The community involvement required the stakeholders in many organizations to talk about impact and develop future conservations,” said Ervin Anderson, the BSU advisor. “This was a joint effort to bring something meaningful to the students of the school.”

The assemblies initially focused on the potency and associated lethality of fentanyl before transitioning to a discussion about addiction and its implications. Jackson, featured in a BBC documentary recovering from his overdose, answered student questions about sobriety and being in a coma. Messaging about rehabilitation and safety pervaded the events.

The analogous crack epidemic was characterized by criminalization, and Fehte addressed the progression to public health response with the opioid epidemic, saying, “Following the advice of drug prevention experts, schools should respond to the needs of their local communities.”

“For me personally, I’m proud of our staff, students, families and community leaders for coming together to address this serious scourge,” he said.

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