Principal: Harmful ingestible substance may be circulating through Riverhead H.S.

Both teens regained consciousness at the school and were transported to the Peconic Bay Medical Center.

News 12 Staff

Feb 14, 2022, 4:57 PM

Updated 790 days ago

Share:

The principal of Riverhead High School is warning parents that a "potentially harmful, ingestible substance may be circulating through the school community and accessible to students."
In a letter to parents obtained by News 12, Principal Sean O’Hara says there is limited information on the actual substance and how students are getting their hands on it.
O'Hara released a statement, saying in part: "As a district, we are taking proactive steps to mitigate this matter internally, including partnering with law enforcement to further investigate the matter."
According to Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, on Feb. 4 and 10, two students passed out in school. Narcan, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses, was used in both incidents.
"I heard something about fentanyl being used, and it's just scary to think about that this is happening," says senior Hunter Hughes.
Parents are concerned that vaping has been an issue at the school.
"We have to be more conscious that drugs are all over the place now," says Riverhead mother Dilsia Gonzalez.
James Alfano, with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corporation, says the student who was unconscious on Feb. 10 was in the hallway and denied vaping. The other student was in a classroom and admitted to vaping.
Both teens regained consciousness at the school and were transported to the Peconic Bay Medical Center.
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, with Family and Children's Association, is an expert at treating drug addiction,. He says he would guess that the opioid being used is fentanyl.
Reynolds says the pandemic is pushing more young people to use drugs and is taking away potentially lifesaving educational programs.
"The prevention programs that used to happen in auditoriums and the parents' nights that used to happen are no longer happening in a COVID environment," Reynolds says. "So that means kids are left anxious, depressed and without the requisite education as are their parents."
An ambulance was also at the school Monday. News 12 is told it was for a student who ate a chocolate edible.
Narcan was not needed in the case.
Parents are being encouraged by the school to speak with their children about being aware of their surroundings and the consequences of their actions.
"Parents need to talk to their kids all the time, regardless of if there's a new substance or not," says Cathleen Sellers.
The district says it is partnering with law enforcement to mitigate the matter and to develop a quick resolution. Students are being advised not to take any unknown items from others and to report suspicious behaviors immediately.
The principal wrote a letter to parents Monday, saying "We will be hosting a virtual assembly for students about the dangers of alcohol and drug usage, and we will be offering training opportunities for our administrators and any interested staff members."
Reynolds says the assembly will need to include lessons about how to administer Narcan.
"It's akin to teaching your staff and students CPR so they can save somebody else's life," Reynolds says.
The dates for the virtual assemblies have not been announced.


More from News 12
2:18
Bronx borough president takes public feedback on 4 new Metro-North stations coming to the Bronx

Bronx borough president takes public feedback on 4 new Metro-North stations coming to the Bronx

1:34
Officers arrest 43-year-old Bronx man connected to Bay Ridge bar fatal stabbing

Officers arrest 43-year-old Bronx man connected to Bay Ridge bar fatal stabbing

1:42
Clear sky and warm conditions today for NYC; tracking rain and cooler weather on the way

Clear sky and warm conditions today for NYC; tracking rain and cooler weather on the way

0:26
Fordham University receives $50 million to tackle air pollution, other environmental issues

Fordham University receives $50 million to tackle air pollution, other environmental issues

1:01
Store owner: 5 suspects used ladder to flee from store robbery in Baychester

Store owner: 5 suspects used ladder to flee from store robbery in Baychester

0:33
City Council to discuss helicopter noise complaints plaguing New York City

City Council to discuss helicopter noise complaints plaguing New York City

0:22
Police identify victim in fatal Longwood shooting

Police identify victim in fatal Longwood shooting

0:26
MTA introduces electric-powered vans to Access-A-Ride fleet

MTA introduces electric-powered vans to Access-A-Ride fleet

2:10
Highbridge students learn about the ins and outs of cannabis

Highbridge students learn about the ins and outs of cannabis

Guide: Alcohol addiction recovery support and resources

Guide: Alcohol addiction recovery support and resources

0:27
Jets 'return to roots' with new uniforms that pay tribute to team's 'New York Sack Exchange' look

Jets 'return to roots' with new uniforms that pay tribute to team's 'New York Sack Exchange' look

1:37
Police: 1 man dead, another in critical condition in Mott Haven shooting

Police: 1 man dead, another in critical condition in Mott Haven shooting

0:45
NYPD: Protesters along Brooklyn Bridge arrested for blocking traffic

NYPD: Protesters along Brooklyn Bridge arrested for blocking traffic

1:51
Seniors staying fit through free program in the Bronx

Seniors staying fit through free program in the Bronx

2:32
Community advocates rally and call for changes in aftermath of NYPD's decision in Kawaski Trawick case

Community advocates rally and call for changes in aftermath of NYPD's decision in Kawaski Trawick case

2:03
Black Maternal Health Week: Mother discusses how her pregnancy inspired her to become a doctor

Black Maternal Health Week: Mother discusses how her pregnancy inspired her to become a doctor

1:36
It’s Tax Day: Bronx accountant breaks down what you should know

It’s Tax Day: Bronx accountant breaks down what you should know

1:22
City announces Project Home program to combat domestic violence

City announces Project Home program to combat domestic violence

1:20
Scholar Athlete: Hunter Burgos

Scholar Athlete: Hunter Burgos

1:59
'I can't even use my bedroom.' Mott Haven resident details slew of problems plaguing her apartment

'I can't even use my bedroom.' Mott Haven resident details slew of problems plaguing her apartment