MCPS Reaches Out to Students and Families Due to Rise in Student Overdose Cases


MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight spoke passionately at times during the press conference regarding student drug overdoses and safety.

Jordane Branch, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, January 19th, Montgomery County Public Schools officials, county leaders, families of overdose victims, and the press were invited to a meeting to address the rise in opioid usage and accidental Fentanyl overdoses among MCPS students.

According to the announcement for the event, the goal of the meeting was to “discuss the rise in the use and availability of illegal opioids, often laced with Fentanyl, and the alarming rise in overdose cases, including those resulting in death.”

The event – conducted in a town hall-type format – discussed the extreme seriousness of the issue in the county and ways to combat it moving forward. In Montgomery County the issue has become of extreme importance as according to Nicole Asbury of The Washington Post, “Youth overdoses – which include those by people under the age of 21 – spiked in the DC suburb in 2022, rising 77 percent.” 

The most recent overdose took place on January 14, 2023, when a 15-year-old MCPS student died. 

During the session, MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight expressed, “every time a parent in our community loses a child, I feel it twice – once as superintendent, and second as a parent.”

According to Dr. McKnight, the district, along with officials from the county police department, and county council, is developing a campaign to teach students and parents about drugs, how to help those who face addiction, and how to identify those who need help.

In her article, Asbury notes that “within the county, typically, young people have mistakenly ingested fentanyl by taking counterfeit pills they believe to be Xanax, Percocet, or another drug.” She did add, however, that county police also report that “a recent trend suggests youths are intentionally buying and using straight fentanyl.”