Dallas ISD Hosts Meeting on Rise in Fentanyl Use, Deadly Consequences

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As fentanyl infiltrates schools and neighborhoods, district leaders are partnering with law enforcement to send a warning to parents. A meeting Tuesday night at W.T. White comes just one day after the overdose of a teen in Northeast Dallas. His family is convinced it was fentanyl.

Joevana Rodriguez says she started chest compressions when her brother, 16-year-old Rodolfo Angel Rodriguez, stopped breathing. She tried for several minutes to revive him.

“I really did, I really did do everything that I could,” she said.

Dallas Fire Rescue confirmed they responded to the overdose call Monday off Park Lane in Northeast Dallas. Rodriguez never woke up. While officials haven't confirmed the cause of the overdose, Joevana is convinced she knows what took her brother's life.

“Feel like it was fentanyl,” she said. “I do. I really do.”

It's this grief that concerned Dallas parents hope to avoid. Dallas ISD, along with Trustee Edwin Flores, held a meeting at W.T. White High School. They partnered with the Dallas DEA to discuss the consequences of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose.

Mayra Valdez attended the meeting. She has a teenage son and said she wants to know what to look out for.

“For my son, I worry that one day I wake up and he's not around because of those things going on,” Valdez said.

Often at community meetings, third-party organizations provide Narcan - a nasal spray known to save lives during a suspected opioid overdose. While some parents hesitate, Valdez said she would, without question, keep the preventive medicine in her home.

“If anything is provided to me to save my child's life, of course, I'll take it,” she said. “I'll take it because my son's safety is what comes first.”

Special Agent in Charge Eduardo Chavez said parents must face the possibility of drug use and experimentation in their homes.

“It's everybody else's problem until it's in your home and you're confronted face-to-face with it,” Chavez said.

He said parents are generally convinced by hearing about other people's experiences.

“Things like Narcan can save a life,” he said. “But you have to have it. You have to have it handy, and it has to be relatively immediate.”

Rodriguez is still processing her family's loss but has a message for anyone who will listen.

“Think about the consequences twice before they take anything so we can avoid another family feeling what we feel right now,” she said.

The family of 16-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez told us they'd just moved to north Texas from Brownsville, and he planned to enroll in Dallas ISD.

Dallas Police were investigating the suspected overdose Monday afternoon but have not revealed any further information and a cause of death has not been confirmed by the medical examiner.

The Dallas ISD meeting comes about a week after a Carrollton teenager was revived with Narcan after being found unresponsive in a school bathroom.

Despite claims that certain colors may be more potent than others, there is no indication through DEA’s laboratory testing that this is the case. The DEA said every color, shape, and size of fentanyl should be considered extremely dangerous.

Without laboratory testing, there is no way to know how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder. If you encounter fentanyl in any form, do not handle it and call 911 immediately.

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