January 20, 2022
Hello Bridgeport Public Schools,
In light of the recent tragedy in Hartford, CT, I would like to bring a serious issue to everyone’s attention that is impacting communities across the United States including Bridgeport. Deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are on the rise amongst young people. In the Bridgeport Public Schools, we are concerned by what many officials are describing as the third wave of our ongoing opioid epidemic.
As a school leader, my top priority is keeping our children safe. In order to do that, we must first educate ourselves on the dangers of this lethal drug. Here are some of the most important facts about fentanyl.
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin and morphine. It is a schedule II prescription drug typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids.
Fentanyl is relatively cheap to produce and is being infused within illicit street drugs, including marijuana. Dealers use fentanyl in a variety of ways to increase their profits. According to a report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, evidence suggests that fentanyl is being pressed into pills that resemble OxyContin, Xanax, hydrocodone and other sought-after drugs, as well as being cut into heroin and other street drugs. A person buying drugs may think they know what they are getting or who they are getting it from, but there is a serious risk of the drugs containing fentanyl, which can cause serious harm including death.
I urge all families to be aware of the dangers that exist when it comes to this new killer in our communities. This is not just affecting the stereotypical drug addict. It is killing recreational drug users and children every day. Please speak to your child and if you suspect your child may need help, getting them into treatment is more critical than ever.
If you need help in determining if your child may need support, please reach out to your child’s school to speak to a student support staff member. It is never too soon to ask questions.
Michael J. Testani
Superintendent of Schools