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On January 17, 2023 a Yamhill County Sheriff’s Deputy went to the campus of Willamina Middle School to conduct follow up investigation on a case. While there, the deputy was asked by a staff member to assist on a bathroom check, regarding a suspicious odor. The deputy went to the classroom, which is a modular classroom, not connected to main campus buildings and entered the bathroom located in the classroom.
The deputy entered the bathroom and noted a strong acrid smell and requested staff and students to evacuate the modular classroom. The deputy began feeling poorly, and after ensuring everyone was removed from the building, began exhibiting symptoms indicative of a possible overdose. At this time students also reported feeling unwell.
Fire/EMS staff from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Emergency Services responded and began rendering aid to one student, and checked on two other students. One student was transported via ambulance to Salem Hospital.
The on-duty Yamhill County Sheriff's Office shift supervisor observed the affected deputy to be in need of medical attention and loaded the deputy into a patrol vehicle and drove to the hospital. The deputy did receive treatment in the Emergency Department.
The results of a toxicity screening on the affected deputy are pending. The deputy reported having tightness in the chest with a restricted ability to breathe, tingling in the fingers, loss of feeling in the lower extremities, and a sensation of floating. The deputy exhibited confusion, inability to speak coherently, and inability to articulate what had happened.
Evidence collected, and information obtained, indicate that another student may have been burning counterfeit pills on a piece of foil in the bathroom of the modular classroom facility. It is believed at this time the pills are counterfeit M30 pills containing fentanyl.
The Willamina school district sent a notification to parents regarding the incident. The affected classroom was ventilated by Grand Ronde Tribal Fire Department, and thoroughly cleaned by school staff.
The Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office is releasing this information to highlight the dangers of fentanyl, and how even exposure to smoke from pills being burned can have significant consequences. There have been multiple documented fentanyl overdoses in Yamhill County in the last 4 days, one of which was fatal. Based on the clustering of overdoses in the West Valley portion of Yamhill County in a short time span, there is concern of regional distribution of a particularly potent batch of counterfeit pills.
Source: Yamhill County Sheriff's Office