13-Year-Old Connecticut Boy Who Died From Fentanyl Overdose Brought Lethal Drug to School, Police Say

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Lt. Boisvert told Inside Edition Digital “the question of how [the victim] obtained this substance is part of the ongoing investigation.”

A 13-year-old Connecticut boy has died after an apparent fentanyl-related overdose at the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy, officials said. 

“We believe the boy who died was the student who brought the fentanyl to school. We are unsure at this point if he even knew what it was,” Lt. Aaron Boisvert told Inside Edition Digital.

The tragic incident happened on Thursday when the seventh-grader, whose name was not released due to his age, was found unconscious after ingesting and overdosing on fentanyl, police said. 

The school nurse performed CPR. When paramedics arrived they rushed the boy and two other seventh graders to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. 

The other two students, who were reportedly exposed to the drug, complained of dizziness were being monitored at the hospital. They were released from the hospital on Thursday, Boisvert said. 

A teacher was also taken to the hospital after suffering a panic attack, according to the school superintendent, NBC-Connecticut reported.

The boy found unconscious died Saturday around 5:30 p.m., CBS affiliate WFSB-TV reported.

During the search of the school, investigators found 40 small bags of what was later determined to be fentanyl in powder form. Drug sniffing dogs found the bags in two classrooms and the school’s gymnasium after going through the building.

“There were approximately 40 bags seized from the school on Thursday. The packaging of which is consistent with what we normally see as heroin or fentanyl street-level sales,” Boisvert said. 

Boisvert said “the question of how [the victim] obtained this substance is part of the ongoing investigation.”

“We are investigating how he came in possession of it. We don’t know if he found the bags or someone gave it to him,” Boisvert said.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, the lieutenant said.

On Thursday, Mayor Luke Bronin urged parents to speak to their children, CBS News reported. 

"This is one more lesson that fentanyl is a poison, these drugs are poison. Please, if you are a parent, have that tough conversation with your child tonight,” Bronin said. “If anyone offers, suggests, that they experiment with, ingest some substance that they think is a drug, they don't know what it is, don't do it, stay a mile away, and for God's sake, please report it so we can try to protect your child, their friends, everything.”

Bronin said in a later statement, in part, that "the city grieves for this child lost, for his loved ones, his friends, his teachers.

"We still have much to learn about the circumstances of this tragedy, and about how a child had access to such a shocking quantity of such deadly drugs, and our police (department) will continue their investigation and seek to hold accountable the adults who ultimately are responsible for this child's death," Bronin said.

The Sports and Medical Sciences Academy located at 280 Huyshop Ave. is a magnet school attended by about 600 students from Hartford and surrounding towns.

“Thursday was an extremely difficult and challenging day for our school,” Principal Alison Giuliano said in a statement. “However, I am very proud of all of our students and staff for their commitment to the safety of everyone on campus and for their patience while emergency services secured the building.” 

The school will be providing social workers and counselors for students, families and school personnel virtually and in-person.

The school was closed on Friday and on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was unclear if the school would reopen Tuesday. The Connecticut Department of Public Health will notify the school when it is determined that it is safe to return.

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approved for treating severe pain. It is most often used to treat advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects," the CDC said

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