(VitalNews.org) – Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is putting pressure on schools in Virginia to address the fentanyl crisis and the rise in drug overdoses.
Last week on Wednesday, the Virginia governor issued an executive order calling on the public instruction superintendent and the state’s Department of Education to issue a form of guidance to staff to notify parents within 24 hours of an overdose incident connected to a school, among other directives.
The executive order was accompanied by a press release that said that it would instruct on “the issuance of new guidance” to “prevent student overdoses” and address the fentanyl crisis impacting “families and communities” in Virginia by coordinating with law enforcement. The order noted one county school district in the state that’s experiencing a recent uptick in overdoses.
In October alone, there were nine overdoses related to opioids among Loudoun County Public Schools students. Four of those incidents occurred on school property, according to the order. In two of the cases, life-saving CPR was administered by school staff. There’s been a total of 19 overdoses in Loudoun County among juveniles in 2023.
The order says that in order to ensure “the safety and well-being” of children in Virginia, “transparency and community awareness” will be “essential.” According to the order, the public school division of Loudoun County took more than “20 days to inform parents” even though “evidence” of numerous overdose incidents was clear. Such a failure to notify parents immediately limits their “fundamental rights to make decisions” regarding their child’s upbringing and “endangers” the child’s “health and welfare.”
Youngkin was one of several governors who collectively deployed troops to the US-Mexico border earlier this year, an initiative spearheaded by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. One of the reasons for sending the troops was to try and hinder the smuggling of fentanyl over the border.
The US Department of Homeland Security also recently revealed a plan in September to crack down on the smuggling of opioids, particularly fentanyl, which Defense Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said is “causing so much loss of life and destruction” in American communities.
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