Texas teen Sienna Vaughn dies of fentanyl as parents, politicians battle opioid overdose wave


A 16-year-old Texas woman died of fentanyl poisoning after taking only one capsule laced with the opioid, her mother and father and the teenager’s faculty district introduced Wednesday — the most recent in a wave of teenage overdoses within the state sparking lawmakers to name for colleges to extend training surrounding the drug.

Sienna Vaughn, a junior at Plano Excessive College in Plano, Tex., took a capsule on Feb. 19 she had purchased from a buddy that she thought was Percocet, a prescription painkiller she believed might assist her chill out, the woman’s household wrote on a memorial website for her. However when Stephanie Vaughn, her mom, went to go verify on Sienna and her buddy, she discovered her daughter pale and the buddy gurgling in ache on the mattress, she advised KDFW.

After medics rushed the 2 to the hospital, the buddy survived, however Sienna was pronounced useless from what was confirmed to be fentanyl poisoning.

“They didn’t know what that they had,” Sienna’s mom advised the TV station. “They didn’t understand it was fentanyl.”

In a letter despatched to oldsters on Wednesday night, Plano Impartial College District Superintendent Theresa Williams confirmed that an unidentified scholar had just lately died from a fentanyl overdose.

“We just lately skilled the tragic lack of considered one of our beloved Plano ISD college students to a lethal fentanyl poisoning,” Williams stated within the letter, in keeping with WFAA. “I can’t categorical the unhappiness and grief that we’re all feeling.”

Sienna’s demise is the most recent deadly teen fentanyl overdose to rock Texas in current months, as mother and father, lawmakers and authorities are responding to a wave of overdoses via interviews, proposed payments and even billboards that includes the faces of younger individuals who have died.

In North Texas, there have been almost a dozen circumstances of scholars within the Carrollton-Farmers Department Impartial College District overdosing on fentanyl between September and early March, NBC News reported. The circumstances, which embody three deaths, caused fees in opposition to three folks for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a managed substance, in keeping with a federal complaint final month.

Billboards went up this week close to Austin exhibiting Cameron Stewart, a 19-year-old from Cedar Park, Tex., who died after taking a laced Valium in 2021. The billboard, which encompasses a picture of a smiling Stewart, reads, “Fentanyl kills … simply ask my mother!”

Texas Republicans have responded to the fentanyl deaths by calling for extra training in colleges and harsher punishments for these convicted of promoting the opioid. State Rep. Terry Wilson (R) proposed a bill this month that calls for varsity districts to present at the least 10 hours of instruction associated to “fentanyl prevention and drug poisoning consciousness” for college students in grades six via 12. The invoice is named “Tucker’s Regulation” for Tucker Roe, a 19-year-old from Leander, Tex., who, like Vaughn, died after he purchased and took what he thought was a Percocet in 2021.

The Texas Senate unanimously handed a invoice Wednesday that will permit prosecutors to cost fentanyl distributors with homicide. The bill sponsored by state Sen. Joan Huffman (R), which might classify fentanyl overdoses as “poisonings,” has discovered help from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and is predicted to be signed into legislation. The state GOP’s strategy of accelerating prison penalties has been met with some criticism from experts, who accuse the lawmakers of not doing sufficient to assist with habit.

What’s unfolding in Texas displays the nationwide uptick in fentanyl overdoses amongst younger folks. Relying on an individual’s physique dimension, tolerance and previous utilization, a fentanyl dose of solely 2 milligrams is usually a deadly dose, in keeping with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A December report from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention discovered that the median month-to-month overdose deaths associated to fentanyl for folks ages 10 to 19 elevated by 182 p.c from July to December 2019 in contrast with the identical interval in 2021. Between July 2019 and December 2021, greater than 2,200 teenagers fatally overdosed in the USA, in keeping with the report — and fentanyl was concerned in 84 p.c of these deaths.

Sienna’s household, who didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Thursday, stated their daughter was concerned in cheerleading and Lady Scouts, and she or he beloved thrift procuring, going to live shows and enjoying with the household’s cats.

“She was simply dwelling her 16-year-old life,” mom Stephanie Vaughn stated to KDFW.

On Feb. 19, Sienna was consuming snacks and goofing off along with her buddy in what gave the impression to be an everyday Sunday, her mother advised native media. However the mom realized one thing was incorrect when her daughter didn’t reply after she knocked on the door. Vaughn opened the door and understood there was hazard, she stated.

“Her buddy was making this bizarre gurgling noise and I noticed Sienna and she or he was simply so pale,” the mom recalled to the station, saying she began performing CPR. “I instantly stated, ‘Name 911, name 911.’”

The household wrote on their memorial web page that although they discovered her solely about an hour after she had taken the fentanyl, it was too late.

“Taking a prescription capsule that somebody gave her was a mistake, however this could NOT have been a deadly error,” they wrote. “With Fentanyl-laced pretend prescription capsules in circulation, persons are not getting a second probability.”

Within the Wednesday letter to Plano ISD mother and father, Williams urged households to speak to their children concerning the threats of drug use, particularly fentanyl.

“It’s essential that college students and people of us who take care of them perceive the dangers concerned and the devastating penalties that may come from experimenting with this and different medicine, which are available varied types — from capsules to vape options,” Williams wrote.

Since Sienna’s demise, her household has raised greater than $31,000 on GoFundMe to assist increase consciousness round getting the overdose-reversal drug Narcan into colleges and work with organizations targeted on the fentanyl disaster. The household careworn that her story, together with so lots of the different examples of younger folks dying of fentanyl overdoses, is vital to share — regardless of how painful it’s for them.

“It could actually occur to you,” Vaughn added to KDFW. “It could actually occur in your own home with you downstairs, simply doing what you’re doing.”

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