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School resource officer describes fentanyl problem at Allen High School, saves lives

School resource officer deals with fentanyl problem at Allen High School, saves lives
School resource officer deals with fentanyl problem at Allen High School, saves lives 02:47

ALLEN – A life or death scene played out earlier this week inside the biggest high school in Texas. 

An Allen High School student suspected of ingesting fentanyl was found unresponsive in a restroom stall. 

While the campus was buzzing with excitement over the solar eclipse, school resource officer Matthew Johnson got an emergency call over this radio. 

"We got called to a high school bathroom, a student had found a kid unresponsive," Johnson said.

Johnson said he raced to the restroom and realized quickly the student had suffered a drug overdose. 

"Saw some contraband in his hand and indicated immediately it was probably an opioid overdose," Johnson said.

It turned out to be what Allen police say they see all too often – blue M-30 pills containing fentanyl that are often sold and passed around as Percocet. 

Johnson reached for the box of Narcan he now carries that has become just as essential these days as his gun, taser and pepper spray. 

"His respiratory rate was almost nonexistent," Johnson said. "He wasn't breathing. He was foaming at the mouth… That kid might not have five more minutes. He was on really bad terms when we found him."

Johnson said it took a double dose of the powerful opioid antidote to bring the student back from the brink of death.

"You know I can't say enough about what he did," said Lt. Darrin Whitman of the Allen Police Department. "You know to be there, to be calm, you know, to take action. You know, all of our officers are trained that way."

For Johnson, who's been assigned to Allen High School for just more than a year, it's already the third time he's had to use Narcan to resuscitate a student on the campus. 

 "It's a crisis," Johnson said. "It's everywhere and the scary part is these kids think they're doing a real prescription pill."

Allen police say what happened Monday underscores how dangerous fentanyl continues to be and how valuable Narcan is inside schools. Widespread access to Narcan might be at least part of the reason the city has seen a dramatic decrease in overdose deaths with none so far this year.

Allen Drug Overdoses 

  • 2024 8 overdoses/no deaths
  • 2023 24 overdoses/11 deaths
  • 2022 13 overdoses/12 deaths
  • 2021 10 overdoses/5 deaths

"There's a reason we all carry Narcan because a lot of times we're the first ones there and we can administer it and save a life," Johnson said.

Johnson humbly refuses to be called a hero despite playing a critical role in saving the lives of three Allen High School students since last fall.  To him, it's just become an unfortunate part of his job. 

"That's our biggest thrill to say something bad didn't happen at school today," Johnson said.

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