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School campus locked down after 13-year-old's apparent fentanyl overdose

Three seventh graders were hospitalized after one of them collapsed in the gym at Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford, Connecticut.NBC Connecticut
/ Source: NBC News

Three seventh graders were hospitalized after apparent exposure to fentanyl at a Connecticut middle school on Thursday, with a 13-year-old boy in "grave condition" due to an overdose, officials said.

Drug Enforcement Agency agents, state police and Hartford police scoured Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford after it was locked down, officials said, and drug-sniffing dogs found multiple bags containing what an initial analysis said was fentanyl.

The 13-year-old victim collapsed in a gymnasium, but the drug was apparently taken elsewhere on campus.

"It is believed that the student ingested something in the classroom," Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez told reporters.

It wasn't immediately clear if the school would be in session on Friday.

The two other seventh grade students were hospitalized for observation after having been in a classroom with the teen who collapsed. A teacher who suffered a panic attack was offered support.

"Our entire community is praying for this child in the hospital and for his family. And again (I) make an ask of every parent to talk with your kids and make sure they know how serious and how dangerous any unknown substance can be and any drug can be," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.

"Please have that conversation tonight. We're talking about seventh graders. It's never too early to have that conversation."

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate that can cause respiratory distress and eventually death if opioid antidote Narcan is not quickly administered.

Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the DEA, and many of its derivatives, like carfentanil, are even stronger.

The drug contributes to 75 percent of drug overdose deaths in the United States, which surpassed 100,000 for the first time in 2021.

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