Fentanyl suspected in McDaniel High student overdose deaths

Here’s what’s known about the two outer East Portland teenagers who died of suspected accidental drug overdoses within 24 hours of each other …

In the Madison South neighborhood, two students at Leodis V. McDaniel High School are dead – as the result of a suspected fentanyl overdose.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

“The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) does not typically release information on death investigations; however, we believe that doing so in this circumstance could lead to saved lives, and so it is warranted,” was the statement attributed to Portland Police Acting Chief Mike Frome.

On Sunday, March 6, officers were dispatched to look into the suspected overdose death of a high-school-aged juvenile – a student at Leodis V. McDaniel High School. In the teen’s possession were what are believed to be fentanyl pills, commonly known as “M30s”.

Genuine medication labeled with “M” on one side and “30” on the reverse are supposed to signify Oxycodone Hydrochloride, 30 mg. These fake “M-30s” are suspected to be deadly fentanyl pills. DEA images

Then, on Monday, March 7, officers were again called for another suspected overdose death involving a high-school-aged juvenile. In the teen’s possession were pills that were suspected to be fentanyl – pills that looked similar to the ones found the day before.

“The Medical Examiner will determine cause of death; toxicology reports take considerable time, and therefore this is preliminary information,” a PPB official said.

Investigators from PPB’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit are working in partnership with local and federal law enforcement partners, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, and the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office – all intent on tracking down the source of these fatal pills, hoping to prevent another overdose death.

This small amount of fentanyl is enough to kill an adult, with one dose.

“We will do everything we can to further this investigation, but we also need the community’s assistance in spreading the word that these illegal pills can kill. Even just one of these pills is lethal,” pointed out Acting Chief Frome.

In a note to parents and students, McDaniel Principal Adam Skyles wrote: “We have reason to believe that there are ‘100% fentanyl’ pills still circulating in our community. Our community is not limited to the McDaniel student body, but the entire Portland Metro area.

“These pills are made to look like Oxycodone but are, in reality, 100% fentanyl – and can be lethal by taking just one pill,” Skyles’ message continued. “These pills are known in our area as M-30, Pirks, Blues, along with other names. We want to be sure that, if students have these pills in their possession, they DO NOT take them. Students can dispose of the pills by bringing them to the main office at school and turning them into an Administrator.”

Officials say if you find pills that look like these, don’t even touch them! They can be that deadly.

For information on prevention, intervention, or talking with your children about the dangers of accidental overdose, CLICK HERE to see the Multnomah County page on counterfeit opioid pills.

If you need to talk, or are concerned about someone you know, there are teens and professionals on hand to help at the Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888, and it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Or, contact Oregon Youthline: 877-968-8491, which also provides teen-to-teen crisis support and a help line. Teens can also text “Teen2Teen” to 839863.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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