Fentanyl Cases Have Spiked in Kern County


Hunter Flores

A picture of Narcan

Isabella Truitt, Audrina Natividad, Staff Writer, New Editor

Fentanyl cases have taken a significant rise in the streets of Kern County. Just in the month of September there had been an accident at North High School resulting in six kids overdosing on fentanyl. But this hasn’t been the only incident in Bakersfield over the course of the months. Cases are on the rise in High Schools across the country and schools are now trying to prevent the tragedy of teens overdosing and dying on this powerful drug. 

  Ridgeview High School Nurse Jordan Pendley says an officer and herself are the only trained staff that are carrying the NARCAN on campus. According to  Pendley the percentage rates from 1999 to 2020 changed drastically from 20,000 deaths to 91,000 deaths.

 These synthetic opioids are being dyed and made into pills or pressed blocks. “Watch out for folded dollar bills, people are crushing the fentanyl and putting them into the folded bills. Even touching fentanyl can kill you”, Pendley informs. According to Pendley symptoms of fentanyl intoxication may include, respiratory distress, drowsiness, dizziness, disorientation, pinpoint pupils, loss of consciousness and nausea/vomiting.

While we have kids unknowingly taking fentanyl, there are some people seeking it. Pendley says, “you could go into cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest which means your heart can stop, if you’re down too long without oxygen, where you’re not breathing adequately. Meaning not enough oxygen to your brain which leaves long term issues.” Fentanyl is the number one killer of adults ranging from 18 to 45 since 2020. Just two milligrams of fentanyl is enough to poison and potentially kill a person. 

NARCAN is the reversal agent and it is not guaranteed you need only one dose. Sometimes you need multiple doses depending on the amount of fentanyl intake. According to the California Department of Public Health, fentanyl related deaths were the highest with the age group of 25 to 29 year old with 600 deaths. Kern County alone has had 139 deaths as of 2020. With 15 to 19 year old’s following closely behind with close to 260 fentanyl related deaths. 

How does this affect the students at Ridgeview High School though?  When asked if their parents had talked to them about the dangers of fentanyl, student Savannah Marney says, “I feel that parents should warn their kids and talk to them even though mine didn’t.” Another student Jade Romo adds, “Yes parents should because fentanyl is a very dangerous drug, peer pressure is serious you need to know the consequences.”

Aaliyah Benavidez, a junior at Ridgeview discusses how the uprising in use of fentanyl has affected her on and off school campus. “A lot of us are on guard a lot more because of what’s happened… I feel like people don’t realize how bad of a crisis it is until it hits close to home like it did at [North High School],” Benavidez explains.

Benavidez goes on to say, “I feel like no matter what, even if we tell students not to do [fentanyl], they’re still going to want to. But I feel like preventing it is just to stop yourself and think about the consequences that could happen.”