Bexar County district court judge ‘Fighting Fentanyl’ with young kids

Judge, law enforcement team up to teach fifth graders about dangers of fentanyl

SAN ANTONIO – Don’t wait — that’s the message a local judge and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have for parents when it comes to teaching their kids about the dangers of fentanyl.

Last month, 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza brought fifth graders from Huebner Elementary into her courtroom to teach them about the synthetic opioid.

“Most people think this does not happen in my neighborhood, or to my child, or in my child’s school, but that’s not true. And substance abuse does not discriminate,” Meza said.

Meza invited law enforcement officers and agents with the DEA to speak with the children about the drug and its dangers.

“People are taking one pill — fake prescription pills. They’re falling asleep, and they never wake up,” said DEA Special Supervisory Agent Tom Mangiamele.

Meza said there’s a specific reason she invited the elementary students to her courtroom — they’re about to start a pivotal time in their lives.

“There’s a lot more that goes on socially in middle school, especially with children now having access to smartphones,” she said.

That’s why Agent Mangiamele said it’s important for parents to monitor their kids, check their phones and see which apps they’re using.

“In most cases, that is how people are obtaining the drug. It’s through different messaging apps online,” Mangiamele said.

Mangiamele hopes the kids take what they’ve learned and share it with their friends and family. He said that conversation could be a good step towards fighting fentanyl.

Click here for a link to resources for parents from the DEA

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About the Author:

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.