NewsCovering Colorado


Federal funding for fentanyl life-saving tools possible for Colorado school districts

Several school districts teaming up to pass the 'Protecting Kids from Fentanyl Act'
Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 21:37:39-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Several school district leaders across the Pikes Peak region met with Congressman Doug Lamborn to discuss the fentanyl crisis in schools on Tuesday.

Rep. Lamborn asked for input on legislation he's working on to help protect children.

"We have to communicate that public schools can not solve this alone," said D11 superintendent Michael Gaal.

School leaders are calling the fentanyl crisis a very real threat in our community.

"I lost my two sons, Andrew and Stephen to fentanyl poisoning in 2021," said a D38 parent Matt Riviere.

"Schools always felt extremely safe and the city always felt extremely safe, that was until 2021 in March, I lost my best friend Xavier to fentanyl," said a D20 high school graduate.

13 people ages 15 to 24 died from a fentanyl overdose in El Paso County last year, according to the county's public health department.

"That's far too many," said the county's public health department director Susan Wheelan.

Some school districts already have Narcan and ensure staff know how to use it. But staff are asking for other tools to protect themselves like gloves and air pumps to help with breathing during an overdose.

"Every training that I've been in has said do not touch fentanyl, you can be exposed to it through touch, certainly getting in your mouth so I personally would not want to take that risk," said D11 lead nurse Bobbi Lahey.

Rep. Lamborn continues to draft his Protecting Kids Against Fentanyl Act. "These are excellent suggestions, thank you."

If the bill passes, Colorado could get $146 million for local school districts. Federal funding will go toward education, training, and tools.

"Educate, inform and warn your students so they don't wind up like my two boys," said Riviere.

"If you have not seen pictures of what this drug looks like, you can easily take it yourself," said D2 superintendent Dr. Wendy Birhanzel.

El Paco County Public Health officials said street drugs, some that even look like candy, are often laced with fentanyl. A small amount of the drug can be deadly.


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