Frank Thompson, a New Jersey art teacher, was charged on Wednesday, January 4th, with the possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and endangering the welfare of children. According to multiple reports, Thompson, 57, allegedly suffered a fentanyl overdose on the morning of November 29th at Roosevelt Intermediate School. Thompson, who suffered the overdose in front of his students in a second-floor classroom, was found unconscious and unresponsive.
According to the Westfield Police Department, Thompson’s students noticed that he was in distress and needed assistance, which was first provided by the school nurse. After the arrival of police officers, one of them, who was in possession of naloxone hydrochloride (Narcan), administered it to Thompson. This helped reverse the effects of the fentanyl overdose as Thompson almost immediately showed signs of improvement. After further investigations by the police, they discovered fentanyl and drug paraphernalia in a classroom closet.
The situation meant that classes had to be moved to a different location as a measure to protect the students from further fentanyl exposure. A former teacher had to take over the class. School district officials later informed parents in a note that the classroom in which the incident took place, as well as the drugs found, was sealed off and sanitized.
Statement from School District about Fentanyl Situation
“While the Westfield Public School District cannot comment on personnel matters which are confidential, we will maintain a continued focus on student and staff safety and on preserving the integrity of the classroom learning environment,” Superintendent for Westfields Public School Raymond González said in a statement. “We are grateful for our strong partnership with the Westfield Police Department.”
Fentanyl has proved to be a devastating drug. It is a synthetic opioid that works fast and is potent, making it addictive. The potency of fentanyl and the fact that it is white and easily mixed with other drugs has led to countless overdoses and deaths. A person suffering from a fentanyl overdose has a very small chance of survival unless treated with Narcan immediately and receiving proper medical attention.
According to reports, Thompson will appear in court on February 1.