Riverhead School District

Investigation in suspected overdoses at H.S. shows no evidence of fentanyl, illicit narcotics, police say

A “thorough investigation” by Riverhead detectives into suspected overdoses that occurred at Riverhead High School Feb. 4 and 10 determined that each case did not involve fentanyl, illicit narcotics or alcohol, Riverhead Town police said Friday.

The investigation into the suspected overdose Monday involving a student who ingested a THC chocolate candy bar is still ongoing. Police have determined that fentanyl was not a factor in the student’s illness.

In the first two instances, a school nurse used Narcan on the students, prompting a warning last Thursday from high school principal Sean O’Hara that a “potentially harmful, ingestible substance may be circulating through the school community and accessible to students.”

In the first instance Feb. 4, the student said that he had used a vape pen from another student in class, according to police. In all three instances, the students were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

Riverhead police continue to investigate all suspected overdoses and anyone with additional information can call 631-727-4500, ext. 312.

“Parents are strongly urged to have a conversation with their children about the dangers of drug use, as well as nicotine and vaping products, and to seek help if needed,” a police press release said. “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 on Tuesday said they did not believe opioids or fentanyl were involved and that the aided cases were not related.

Felicia Scocozza, executive director of Riverhead Community Awareness Program, outlined several ways parents can tackle the challenging topic with children this week.

Narcan, a brand name for naloxone nasal spray, has become widely available in recent years for treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency. Naloxone works to block or reverse the effects of opioids and is available without a prescription at pharmacies. Naloxone has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The school district announced it will hold a training session on Narcan for the community and staff members March 2 and 10 at the high school. It’s scheduled for 6 p.m. in the auditorium.