California students hospitalized after drug overdose

AP News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2015 5:10 PM

PINOLE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say five suburban San Francisco high school students were hospitalized after overdosing on a prescription drug used to treat anxiety, while authorities warn about tainted medication being sold on the streets.

KNTV reports (http://bit.ly/1W8P2Tc) that two other students were involved in the incident Thursday. All seven were suspended from Pinole Valley High School.

West Contra Costa School District spokesman Marcus Walton says the Pinole Valley students were seen stumbling at lunchtime Thursday. Teachers noticed the students were acting as if they were intoxicated, Walton said. School officials called for an ambulance and police.

Five students were taken to the hospital, and two were released to their parents, Walton said. Their conditions were not available Friday.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Department of Public Health is warning people not to purchase Xanax on the street because the fake pills in circulation contain fentanyl, an extremely potent, short-acting opioid that can cause death.

Last week, three people between the ages of 20-40 years old were hospitalized after taking a pill inscribed and sold as Xanax and purchased on the street. All three suffered complications of opioid overdose, including sedation, weakness in extremities, muscle breakdown that can lead to kidney damage, and fluid in lungs, health department officials said.

A fourth person, who had the same pill, was found dead.

"We know there is a dangerous counterfeit drug being sold on the street as 'Xanax,' and people should be very careful and avoid the risk of overdose and death," Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón said. "Under no circumstances should you accept medication from someone else, or purchase prescription medicine on the street."

The Health Department alerted physicians in San Francisco to the problem Thursday.

It was not known if the Pinole students purchased the drugs in San Francisco. A Contra Costa County Health Services spokeswoman said Friday the department did not receive any reports about fake Xanax pills. However, the spokeswoman said the department is advising the public not to take any medication that is not theirs or that is purchased on the street.

The incident comes just days after five students in Marin County, north of San Francisco, were sent to the hospital for overdosing on over-the-counter cough medication.

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Information from: KNTV-TV.