Multiple students rushed to hospital after taking drugs, school officials say

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Multiple students were recently rushed from their school to a hospital after taking drugs, according to Albuquerque Public School officials. They confirmed that there were two incidents Friday at Rio Grande High School.

“These incidents are cause for great concern,” school principal Antoinette Valenzuela said in a letter to parents Friday, which district officials confirmed to KOB 4 Wednesday.

The letter said that there were “two incidents on campus”… “that involved students ingesting substances and needing to be transported to the hospital via ambulance.”

Students KOB 4 spoke with said some students bought drugs from a person near school property and then as many as four students had terrible experiences.

“They were like itching themselves,” one said.

“They were like tweaking out, falling asleep, having their head back. They couldn’t hold (up) their head, literally,” said another.

They believe the students affected took the drugs in different forms.

“They took a pill and they overdosed in the bathroom,” one student said.

“A few kids had bought a Cake disposable,” another student said, referring to a vape pen that students expected to contain marijuana, “and the person they bought it from had put Fentanyl in it, and then they had an OD (overdose). Then they noticed a few kids acting weird and tweaking in class.”

When asked what it was like to have that happen during the school day, students replied, “It’s Rio,” and, “Typical high school stuff.”

The school’s principal said in the letter that staff will continue to try to prevent drug use at school, saying students should report anything suspicious, and saying parents should talk to their kids about these dangers.

One mother is already well-aware of them.

“It is very scary because my daughter is in the 9th grade and hearing that fentanyl is taking over our kids and hurting our kids and people are overdosing like crazy. It makes me scared to even send my kid to school,” said Lenore Francia, the parent of a Rio Grande High School student.

She said she’s talked a lot with her daughter about what specifically to avoid doing.

“If her friends offer her a piece of candy or a piece of gum, for her not to take it,” she said.

KOB 4 reported earlier this month that the federal Drug Enforcement Agency said Mexican cartels are making most of the illegal fentanyl in America, and they are pushing the drug to kids.

“Unfortunately illicit substances are coming into our country in waves, in floods,” Carlos Briano, a DEA spokesperson for the division that covers New Mexico, told KOB 4 Wednesday. “It is an alarming situation.”

Briano said pills can be deceptive, and vape pens can be laced with all kinds of chemicals.

“There is no quality control to the illicit drugs that these cartels are making,” he said. “Fake pills that are advertised as medications but they’re not, and that’s what’s killing our young people. They think it’s one thing, and lo and behold, it’s another. It may have meth, it may have fentanyl, it may have chemicals that are bad for the body.”

The DEA is urging parents to talk with their kids about these dangers. The agency has resources to learn about them.

There are also resources for advice on how to talk about the dangers.

There’s a site for teens, a site for parents, educators, and caregivers and a site for professionals in higher education.

An Albuquerque Public Schools police spokesperson said they have not seen an uptick in drug use on campus this semester.