HAYS CISD ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT AND THSCA BRING OPIOID REDUCTION PROGRAM TO THE COMMUNITY “Coaches vs Overdoses” program designed to combat the opioid epidemic and educate parents and students. San Marcos, Texas (September 11, 2023) – The Texas High School Coaches Association and Hays Consolidated Independent School District are partnering with the Safety Blitz Foundation to bring the Coaches vs Overdoses program to the parents and students of Hays CISD. In September 2023, the Hays CISD athletic program was the first district in the state this year to launch the program to their community. The Coaches vs Overdoses program includes educational materials that will be distributed electronically to parents and students and the distribution of a simple and convenient drug disposal tool at the district’s varsity football games. This program aims to curb the opioid epidemic that is devastating Texas communities and destroying young lives.
The Texas High School Coaches Association is proud to announce that home football games on October 26, 27, and 28 will serve as Texas’s kickoff to National Drug Take Back Day. Partnering with the Safety Blitz Foundation's Coaches vs. Overdoses program, coaches will be provided a simple, evidence-based prevention, education, and drug disposal campaign. The campaign includes opioid misuse and overdose prevention materials and public service announcements from Hall of Fame athletes.
Click here to view/download/print the Coaches vs Overdoses Prevention Playbook (pdf).
During the summer of 2022, the communities in Hays CISD began to see an increase in overdoses, poisonings, and deaths related to fentanyl. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is often the ingredient used in counterfeit pills purchased on the street – sold as something else like Xanax, Percocet, or oxycodone. Quite often, in cases involving fentanyl, people who take the drug have no idea they are taking it. In the drug trade, fentanyl is a cheap alternative to other synthetic opioids and it takes so very little to kill.
Sadly, during the summer and first week of school in 2022, four Hays CISD students died from fentanyl poisoning, or suspected poisoning. By the end of the 2022 - 2023 school year, the number of Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl poisoning had risen to six. Additionally, students have overdosed on the drug both at school and at home. Given the direct effect on our school district and our students, Hays CISD has committed to keeping the fentanyl conversation open and ongoing.
"I'm worried. We take all safety and security issues very seriously, but this one is especially concerning. We must treat the fentanyl crisis with urgency," said Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright.
What Is Hays CISD Doing?
To help fight the fentanyl problem, Hays CISD is:
- Partnering with local law enforcement, emergency management, and health authorities to monitor and collaborate on the best way to combat the crisis.
- The district stocks Narcan at all campuses – through the nurses’ offices and school resource officers (SROs) from the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. Narcan, administered quickly enough, can help reverse the effects of a fentanyl overdose.
- District nursing staff, counselors, safety and security team, curriculum and instruction leaders, and our principals and campus leaders will be working on in-school educational opportunities, which may include assemblies, homeroom discussions, posters, or other ways to inform students about fentanyl dangers.
What You Can Do:
To help fight the fentanyl problem, you can:
- Talk to your children. Tell them that ANY pill they get from a friend or purchased online or off of the street could be a counterfeit pill containing fentanyl. Only take medication that was prescribed by a doctor, purchased at a pharmacy, and approved by parents or guardians.
- Learn about the fentanyl crisis and help spread the word that this is a dangerous situation. Visit the Centers for Disease Control website’s Fentanyl Facts page as a starting-point: https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/fentanyl/index.html)
- Ensure that your child delivers all medications, including over-the-counter medications, to the school nurse for distribution. Students should not carry any medications with them at school, nor share them for any reason.
- Reach out to your school nurse or counselor with any specific concerns, or if you need additional resources that are unique to your family.
Links, Resources, and Tips
Fighting Fentanyl Video Series
Hays CISD is producing and releasing a series of educational videos featuring local families and people who are affected by the fentanyl crisis. These videos also feature those in our community who are on the front lines fighting. As the video episodes are completed, they will be published online here. Additionally, some may be posted on social media and played for students in classes.
Student Created Fentanyl Awareness Campaign
Forever 15 Project
Through the Forever 15 Project, families of Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl poisoning raised money to purchase a billboard that brings awareness to the crisis.
"We lost our son, Noah, on August 21, 2022 to Fentanyl poisoning. We do not want any other parent, family member or friend to experience what we have. Because of this tragedy, we started the Forever15Project to spread awareness and to provide resources for those who are at risk or who know someone at risk and to honor those who have been lost."
- Brandon & Janel
Be Drug Free Summer '23!
As part of an end-of-year push to keep students thinking about the dangers of fentanyl during the summer months, Hays CISD will host in-person fentanyl awareness assemblies for students at all middle schools and high schools. In the district's experience, the most dangerous times for students who have died from fentanyl poisoning are during the long breaks from school. During the summer of 2022, three Hays CISD students died. A fourth student died less than one week after the summer ended.
A video message about the dangers of fentanyl from the Centers for Disease Control:
A video message from Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright about fentanyl - a segment in his weekly "Wright This Minute" message published August 25, 2022: