A California teenager was arrested Friday on suspicion of allegedly possessing 150 fentanyl pills — disguised as Percocet — at a junior high school that caused a school supervisor to overdose from exposure, according to local reports.
Bakersfield Police Department authorities told 17 News that authorities placed a 13-year-old Chipman Junior High School student into custody after responding to reports around 9:05 a.m.
Authorities reported the student allegedly possessing the deadly drug had been in an altercation with another student, which led to the supervisor interjecting and searching the student’s bag.
Robert Pair, a spokesman for the police department, said the supervisor did not ingest the pills. However, the drugs are an “inhalation hazard.”
A Kern High School police officer immediately administered Narcan to the supervisor before transferring the official to a local hospital for treatment.
Bakersfield authorities said the supervisor is in stable condition.
Authorities charged the 13-year-old student with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sales and taken to Juvenile Hall, KGET reports.
It is unclear whether or not the highly addictive substances were sold or given to other students.
Officers also found $300 on the student.
Bakersfield City School District officials closed the school offices temporarily to prevent further risk to staff and faculty members after authorities arrested the teenager.
District officials warned parents and guardians to inform their children about the dangers of fentanyl and apologized to the school community.
“I urge parents, please be aware of your child’s behavior and what they bring to school each morning,” Superintendent Mark Luque said in a statement to The Californian. “We live in a reality where our students have access to dangerous things.”
Luque commended the actions of Richard Aguilar, the campus supervisor exposed to the fentanyl, and Vice Principal Melissa Mabry, whose “immediate handling of this incident may have saved lives.”
Fentanyl is one of the strongest synthetic opioids in circulation; it is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. A lethal dose of fentanyl is just two milligrams, roughly equal to 10-15 grains of table salt.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that methods of exposure to fentanyl can be absorbed into the body via inhalation, oral exposure or ingestion, or skin contact — with inhalation of fentanyl resulting in rapid absorption.
It is impossible to tell how much fentanyl is concentrated in a particular pill or powder sample. However, despite claims that some colors are more potent than others, DEA reported that lab testing indicated no such relationship between color and potency.
“Every color, shape, and size of fentanyl should be considered extremely dangerous,” the agency said.
Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a formal warning to the public about the rise of candy-colored “rainbow fentanyl.”
The Daily Wire reported that the DEA warned the public to be aware of the “emerging trend” of colorful fentanyl pills becoming available nationwide. The drug is available in brightly colored pills, powder, and blocks that look like sidewalk chalk.
The DEA noted that drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18-45.
John Rigolizzo contributed to this report.