South Texas ISD high schoolers compete in fentanyl PSA competition

South Texas ISD high schoolers compete in fentanyl PSA competition
1 month 3 weeks 4 days ago Wednesday, April 03 2024 Apr 3, 2024 April 03, 2024 11:38 AM April 03, 2024 in News - Local

A group of Rio Grande Valley high school students are on their way to a state competition. They made a PSA to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

Four students from South Texas Independent School District Health Professions in Mercedes created the 30 second PSA. They wanted to inform the public about the dangers and consequences of taking fentanyl.

South Texas ISD senior Ivan Trevino is one of the four students who helped produced the 30-second video. It was entered in the Fentanyl Will Kill You competition.

HOSA, the international career and technical student organization, created the contest, so aspiring health professionals can learn about the dangers of fentanyl.

"We took it as seriously compared to what we would take anything else because we realized that this is something that happens in our community and around people that are our age and our peers as well like at school or at playgrounds like with little kids as well," Trevino said.

According to data from the Department of State Health Services, in 2023 there were more than 2,000 fentanyl related deaths in Texas. That made up about half of all drug-related deaths for last year.

The four students will be competing Wednesday in Galveston against 21 other schools in the state.

The students say fentanyl is no joke, as it only takes a small amount for it to become a life-or-death situation. That's what they wanted to show through their video.

The video shows what could happen after someone takes fentanyl, and once 911 has been called and paramedics show up.

"We have our patient take fentanyl, and he overdoses, and so, we immediately rush in with a stretcher to simulate how it would be in a real-life situation," Trevino said. "So, it is a life-or-death situation, really, as soon as we step into the scene and depending on if they're unresponsive, or they're barely presenting symptoms of fentanyl."

Local police say all it takes is a tiny amount of a fentanyl to end a life. For example, a small, but deadly amount, of fentanyl can fit on the tip of a pencil.

"Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. A small amount can kill someone immediately," Mission Public Information Officer Art Flores said.

Before making the video, the students had to research about the drug problem in the area. They found that there has been an increase of the drug in Brownsville.

Trevino says this competition isn't just about the statistics or new information they learned. 

"It's mostly about the stories behind it, with fentanyl and the people around us and our community," Trevino said.

Trevino and his four teammates will present the PSA to a panel of judges in Galveston. If they advance in the competition, they will move on and showcase their PSA at the international level.

Watch the video above for the full story.

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