Opioids or fentanyl were not responsible for the suspected overdoses at Riverhead High School that resulted in two students receiving Narcan in a one-week span, according to Riverhead Town police.
In an update Tuesday, police said the three instances where students received medical attention beginning Feb. 4 were unrelated and two of them were self-induced. Police said the department investigates all suspected overdoses and the investigation into these cases remains ongoing.
“The Riverhead High School does have a strict policy against all illegal drug use as well as nicotine and vaping products,” a police media release said. “Parents are strongly urged to have a conversation with their children about the dangers of drug use and to seek help if needed. There are psychologists, social workers and school counselors available at the school. There is additional information for parents on the RESOURCE page on the Riverhead CAP website at riverheadcap.org.”
Police provided additional information on each case. In the first case Feb. 4, police responded to a report of a possible overdose and when officers arrived, the student was found alert and conscious. The school nurse had administered Narcan and the student was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center. The student said that he had used a vape pen from another student in class, according to police.
In the second instance Thursday, police responded to a report of a student passed out. The student was alert and conscious when officers arrived. The school nurse had again administered Narcan and the student was transported to PBMC. The student said he had been feeling ill for weeks and said he did not use illegal narcotics.
The most recent incident on Monday involved a student having difficulty breathing. The student stated he was given a THC chocolate candy bar from an “unidentified person in the Flanders area.” The student ate about half of the chocolate bar at school. The student was also transported to PBMC.
High School principal Sean O’Hara provided an update to the school community Monday evening, saying that the district takes “these matters very seriously” and is working to develop strategies to assist students in making sound choices.
“I can assure you that we are working to take several proactive steps to address the topic directly,” he wrote.
The steps have included: “To date, these have included partnering with local law enforcement and to begin to plan for several upcoming initiatives. In the weeks ahead, we will be hosting a virtual assembly for students about the dangers of alcohol and drug usage and we will be offering training opportunities for our administrators and any interested staff members. Additionally, as partners in education, we will be hosting a community event in the near future to extend Narcan/drug and alcohol awareness training to our residents, families and community.”
The Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which responded to assist the students in each of the cases, issued a warning Monday to parents and outlined some advice.