After 3 teens overdose, school districts warn of fentanyl-laced ecstasy pills

A tall, mostly glass-fronted office tower
The Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters downtown.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Unified School District is sounding an alarm about fentanyl-laced ecstasy pills after three high school students overdosed.

Three teenage girls were found unconscious in a Los Angeles County home on May 25 after taking ecstasy pills that were contaminated with fentanyl, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a Twitter post this week.

The teens reportedly crushed and snorted blue circular tablets that they had purchased from an online dealer selling ecstasy. Emergency personnel used naloxone, or Narcan, to resuscitate the teens, one of whom suffered a brain injury, said Dr. Siddarth Puri, the associate medical director of prevention with the county health department.


Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs (including heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine) to increase potency, but it can be deadly. Test kits can help.

May 16, 2022

Following the alert from county health officials, LAUSD sent a letter to parents on Wednesday warning of a “strong likelihood” of ecstasy pills contaminated with fentanyl in the area.

“We encourage you to have discussions with your child about making healthy choices and about the dangers of ingesting any illicit drugs especially as we enter into end-of-year celebrations and the summer,” the letter states.

The South Pasadena Unified School District issued a similar warning in a letter sent Wednesday morning, urging parents to talk with their children about avoiding illicit drugs.

The state and L.A. County have worked hard to make Naloxone more widely available. One of the hurdles, though, has been the price of the inhalable version, Narcan.

May 23, 2022

County public health officials stated that these drug contaminants can affect the heart, brain and other organ systems and can lead to life-threatening complications.

“This incident highlights the growing national and local trend of illicit drugs and counterfeit pills being contaminated with illegally manufactured fentanyl,” the public health department stated.

Fentanyl- and methamphetamine-related overdose deaths have increased since the pandemic and continue to rise at an “alarming rate,” county health officials said.