One Alabama high school student dead, four in hospital after possible fentanyl exposure at school

The four hospitalized students are expected to recover from fentanyl exposure

An Alabama high school student who died and four others who were hospitalized were likely exposed to something laced with fentanyl.

Police were called to Selma High School Tuesday after multiple students began showing signs of a health issue, with one 16-year-old male sophomore student ultimately dying and four others taken to a local hospital, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities began to suspect the death and hospitalizations were due to a painkiller that may have been laced with fentanyl, though Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said that investigators are waiting on an autopsy and toxicology report before making a final determination.

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Selma High School in Alabama

Selma High School in Alabama (Google Maps)

"It doesn’t take much to kill you," Jackson said.

The four hospitalized students are expected to recover. 

School Superintendent Zickeyous Byrd did not penalize students who missed classes Wednesday as a result of the tragedy, saying that "an event of this magnitude" did not just impact one family, but "affects us all."

Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers seized more than 26 pounds of fentanyl pills at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Gila Bend on Sept. 23, 2022. 

Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers seized more than 26 pounds of fentanyl pills at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Gila Bend on Sept. 23, 2022.  (Arizona Department of Public Safety)

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Mayor James Perkins Jr. warned against jumping to conclusions in the case, saying that the 16-year-old victim, who has yet to be identified, was very close to him.

"Because the deceased is a juvenile, I will not mention him by name. Just know that his death is very close to me," Perkins said in a statement. "I considered him a son."

Some of the 15,000 fentanyl pills seized by law enforcement in Connecticut.

Some of the 15,000 fentanyl pills seized by law enforcement in Connecticut. (Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's Office)

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Fentanyl has become the drive of the U.S. opioid crisis, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating around 75% of all drug overdose deaths the last few years were linked to fentanyl. Overall, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdose in 2021, the first time the country crossed into six figures.