A 13-year-old in Bakersfield, California, was arrested after fentanyl pills were reportedly discovered on his person, and a school supervisor suffered an exposure overdose as a result.
Just after 9 a.m. local time last Friday, Bakersfield police were called to Chipman Junior High School where a school supervisor had suffered an accidental fentanyl overdose after breaking up an altercation between two students. During the incident, the school employee conducted a search on one of the students involved and found nearly 150 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet (oxycodone) pills, police said. It is unclear whether the other student had been searched as well.
Though the supervisor did not ingest any of the pills, the act of opening the pill bottle itself exposed the employee to an "inhalation hazard," according to reports. The supervisor subsequently suffered a contact overdose, and a local high school police officer immediately gave the employee Narcan, also known as naloxone, a drug often administered to offset the effects of opioid overdose.
The employee, whose name and gender are unknown, was then taken to the hospital for treatment. The employee is said to be in stable condition, according to police. Whether the employee remains in the hospital now is unclear.
The 13-year-old boy allegedly found carrying the fentanyl was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sales and taken to a juvenile detention facility. The boy had $300 in cash on his person at the time of his arrest, though whether he had actually distributed or sold any of the pills is unclear.
Police are still investigating to determine how the student acquired the pills.
California has recently become a hotbed for drug trafficking. Law enforcement agents speculate that, because of the state's lax drug laws and its intricate interstate highway matrix, drug cartels have set up shop in many locations throughout the state so that they may manufacture their wares and then distribute them throughout the country. Fentanyl has lately become their preferred product to sell.
"It’s so unstable, very cheap," said one undercover cartel investigator. "You can buy a fentanyl pill for three to five dollars on the street, and in that one pill for three to five dollars, you can be dead."
"Accidental overdoses are almost exclusively fentanyl now," added Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones.