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Plano ISD hosts virtual parent workshops to discuss fentanyl dangers

Weeks after a Plano Senior High School student died from fentanyl poisoning, the school district is hosting workshops to inform parents about the lethal drug.

PLANO, Texas — Fentanyl is becoming a hot topic across North Texas. It’s a serious issue that now has many cities and school districts warning communities about the dangers of the lethal drug.

“We're treating this very, very seriously,” said John-Mark Meulman, an administrator with the Collin County Substance Abuse Program.

The City of Dallas is among agencies addressing the issue. The city published a series of fentanyl awareness ads on its social media sites. The ads point out the risks of overdosing on laced counterfeit prescription pills and marijuana.

"It's a cheap drug to manufacture and it's so potent,” Meulman said.

Plano Independent School District is also taking action. It’s scheduling virtual parent workshops, weeks after a Plano Senior High School student died from Fentanyl poisoning.

"The truth is a lot of times, these synthetic drugs, you don't know what's in them,” Meulman explained.

The Collin County Substance Abuse Program is partnering with Plano Police and Plano ISD to address parents’ concerns about the drug. About 100 people logged into Thursday afternoon’s virtual meeting.

“Because of the lethality of the drug, it is going to reach epidemic proportions. We're watching the rise,” Meulman told the group.

The parents of the Plano ISD student who recently died said the teen took what she thought was a prescription Percocet from a friend, in order to relax. They learned that pill was laced with a fatal amount of fentanyl.

The virtual discussion also came on the heels of several student overdoses, and at least three student deaths across Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

"You know, parents are worried about walking the line about being invasive, but you've got to keep your kids safe,” Meulman added.

Some parents asked how to spot red flags.

“The biggest thing to watch is really changes in your child's behavior. You know your children. You know your teens. A huge red flag is different friend groups,” Meulman answered.

They parents also wanted to know what’s being done in schools.

“Our counselors, district-wide are providing lessons and guidance to our students,” said Nancy Avery with Plano ISD.

The virtual parent workshops will continue. Plano ISD has scheduled the meetings for 12 p.m. March 16 and 5 p.m. March 23.

A community forum on fentanyl is also scheduled for March 30 at the Plano Event Center, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway.

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