HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — It’s been about two weeks since many school districts let out for summer break, and the Kyle Police Department said they’ve already seen one teen-related fentanyl overdose.

“Fortunately, both law enforcement and paramedics were able to arrive and safely revive that child, and they’ve recovered,” said Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett.

Chief Barnett said the teenager was 16 years old. They’ve seen others leading up to this one as well.

“We had one two weeks prior to that, and one a couple of weeks prior to that. So the danger has not necessarily gone away,” Chief Barnett said.

It was around this time last year that Hays County saw a spike in fentanyl overdoses among teens.

“In the summer of 2022, we saw a rise in deaths of young people related to fentanyl. We had several students in our local school district that had taken fentanyl, and it cost them their lives,” Barnett said.

What should parents do?

Barnett said the summer is a time when many teenagers will be home alone. He said it’s important for parents to have a plan in place.

“Check on those teens regularly throughout the day. If their teens are going to go visit friends, the parents need to be actively engaged in knowing who those friends are, exactly where they live, and make certain that they’re clear on the times that their children will be away from the home,” he said.

Barnett said it was also important for parents to know what friends their children may be bringing over to their home.

A mother on a mission

Someone also spreading awareness? Janel Rodriguez.

“We did 30 presentations between 12 schools in the month of May to Hays CISD middle and high schools,” Rodriguez said.

Janel Rodriguez holding up her phone to show a picture of a fentanyl awareness presentation
Rodriguez said she and Hays County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Hipolito do their fentanyl awareness presentations together. (Photo: Janel Rodriguez)

This mission is personal for her. Her son Noah was one of the Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl at the beginning of the school year.

“I’ve always said I want Noah to be more than a sad story,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like we have gone beyond, you know.”

Since then, Rodriguez said she’s spoken at countless school districts across the state and country.

“Kansas, Missouri. We’re going to Louisiana next month,” she said. “Since September, we’ve done over 100 presentations, and over 10,000 easily, students and parents and community members.”

This summer, she’ll continue speaking with teens about the dangers of fentanyl. She’s taking her lessons from in the schools to out on the basketball court for a tournament.

“We’re going to take little breaks, and I’m going to bring in different families to share just a quick little bite about, you know, how fentanyl has impacted them,” Rodriguez said. “Keep that awareness going.”

The tournament will be July 29 and 30 at Chapa Middle School in Kyle.

Rodriguez said since starting her presentations, she’s helped send three teens to rehab and one to a mental health facility to get the resources they need.

Rodriguez said they are booking up for next school year. Their next school presentation will be Fredericksburg ISD on August 28, 29 and 30.