County works to decrease drug use in schools after Quince Orchard student overdoses at McDonald’s


Graph courtesy CDC

Drug-involved overdose deaths have grown significantly over the past 20 years. This results from an opioid crisis that has affected the entire nation. National drug overdoses have increased from 20,000 in the year 2000 to almost 100,000 drug overdoses in 2020.

A Quince Orchard student overdosed at a Mcdonald’s not too far away from the school on Mar. 21 just before noon. The police are investigating whether the overdose was due to fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is one of the top contributors to fatal and non-fatal overdoses in the country. Most cases of fentanyl are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which means fentanyl is added to other drugs. Fentanyl-laced drugs are extremely dangerous and people are often unaware that their drugs are laced with fentanyl. Over 150 people die from fentanyl-related overdoses every day, according to the CDC.

The student was found unconscious inside the McDonald’s bathroom by a stranger who administered Narcan. Narcan is a medicine that can rapidly reverse a drug overdose and restore breathing. The victim was taken to a hospital where it was announced they were in stable condition, according to Fox 5 DC.

Quince Orchard now has a new lunch policy where only juniors and seniors will be allowed to go off campus and they will need to show their student ID to be allowed off campus. Freshmen and sophomores will not be allowed to leave the campus.

This incident is giving students anxiety. “It makes me feel upset that a student had to go through addiction and overdose. I think the county could provide more resources that are accessible so kids don’t feel like they are being judged when they ask for help,” sophomore Suna Majmudar said.

Not only students are anxious about what happened, the staff is too, “What happened at QO is alarming. There needs to be more accountability not only in Montgomery County but across the country when it comes to possession and use of narcotics such as fentanyl,” security guard Nicholas Donato said.

There needs to be more accountability not only in Montgomery County but across the country when it comes to possession and use of narcotics such as fentanyl

— Nicholas Donato

To reduce the number of drugs used in schools, “I think the county needs to have real conversations with students. I believe removing the SRO’s from our schools has greatly hindered these important conversations with students. Unfortunately fentanyl is an epidemic and all too often is glamorized by social media and other avenues,” Donato said.

MCPS recently held a Fentanyl Family Forum on Mar. 25 at Paint Branch High School. Families were invited to learn about resources and join education sessions on the dangers of illicit drugs. The event included Narcan training and attendees were given Narcan kits.

Another way to possibly decrease the use of drugs in schools would be to “inform students in more relatable ways so that they can relate to what is being shown to them instead of just having information about adults,” freshman Avantika Selbarajan said.

MCPS works with Montgomery Goes Purple, which is a countywide substance use and mental health prevention and recovery initiative. They are connecting schools with youth support and programs. The county is also offering resources so that families are empowered to address substance abuse with youth, according to