The Selma High School student who passed away in the school’s cafeteria had two opioids in his system, including fentanyl, according to a toxicology report released by Selma officials.

A 16-year-old male student died at the school on November 8, and at least three others were sent to the emergency room.

Though a Dallas County District Attorney indicated that the death might have been linked to fentanyl, an official from Selma City Schools said shortly after the incident that the system is unsure about whether the incidents are all related and that they are waiting for toxicology reports to determine the cause of death. 

The student’s body was taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to determine the cause and manner of death.

According to the Selma Sun, the Selma officials announced Wednesday that the boy had both fentanyl and Hydrocodone in his system.

At a press conference, Selma City Schools Dr. Zickeyous Byrd said that employees “worked hard to provide medical assistance” to the student before he was taken to the emergency room. He also said he spoke with the student’s father after he arrived at the hospital and the student arrived at the ER. 

However, the student’s father, Trumaine Mitchell, told 1819 News earlier this month that he was made aware of his son’s condition by a neighbor who had a child at the school. He said the school didn’t tell him what was going on and didn’t make contact with him until a few days later when they came to his house to ask if there was anything they could do. 

Byrd told 1819 News that those accusations were “absolutely false.”

Mitchell also claimed that when his son wasn’t acting normally, students told school faculty and that witnesses said the faculty didn’t respond until his son was pronounced dead 15 minutes later.

Byrd denied these claims as well. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is as much as 100 times stronger than morphine. Though some fentanyl is produced by pharmaceutical companies, illicit fentanyl is sometimes cut into other drugs like cocaine and heroin or added to pills.

According to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA), fentanyl overdose deaths in Alabama rose 136% between 2020 and 2021. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents have seized more than 10 million fentanyl pills around the country between May and September. 

Opioid overdoses topped the list of leading causes of death in the United States, surpassing vehicular-related deaths, in 2019.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 564,000 people died from opioid overdose between 1999 and 2020. One hundred eighty-seven people die every day from an opioid overdose. Forty-four people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids. 

Widespread prescriptions of opioids began in the 1990s, and overdoses increased throughout that decade. The opioid crisis peaked in the 2010s with rapid increases in overdoses involving heroin. In 2013, overdoses rose again due to the introduction of synthetic opioids.

The year 2020 saw the most significant increase in opioid-related deaths, particularly one involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl and tramadol.

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