Teen's alleged overdose at school highlights citywide opioid abuse increase


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- A 16-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathroom at Central High School this week in what Little Rock Police believe was a drug overdose.

But what could be going on in the schools is parallel to the bigger picture: opioid overdoses in the community.

While the school district and police department couldn’t comment on the incident that happened at Central High School because it involved a minor, Metro EMS and the Little Rock Fire Department were able to note a recent and massive uptick in drug overdoses in the area.

“It certainly is alarming. It’s touching all generations,” Fire Captain Doug Coffman said.

Opioid abuse, a nationwide epidemic, discriminating against no one as emergency crews respond to it right here in the Little Rock community.

“This is a national crisis obviously. Little Rock is not going to be different from any other cities in the United States,” Coffman explained, adding that in his sixteen years with the fire department, he’s recently noticed the steep increase in such overdoses.

“We certainly make more rescue calls than we do fire calls or fire alarm calls,” he explained.

And MEMS, too, backing up Coffman’s statement with its data which is tracked by how many times an opioid antidote known as Narcan is used, showing an increase in drug overdoses in opioid calls within the Little Rock community over the course of the past several years.

The most massive uptick to date: 2016 to 2017.

While no one could comment on the minor who was reportedly overdosing at Central High School Monday, a parent sent Channel 7 News a text message explaining how she voiced her concerns to the school about the well-being of other students. She said the principal told her “no comment.”

“That’s probably one of a fire fighter’s worst nightmares is anything with kids,” Coffman added.

While MEMS and the police department already have possession of Narcan, the Little Rock Fire Department is still working on getting its hands on it as well.

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