Park City often seems to be a mountain refuge from much of the world’s ugliness. Over the last few days, that image has been exploded.
A 15-year-old high school student is in stable condition after an overdose in Park City on Wednesday. The incident follows the unexplained deaths of two 13-year-old students from Treasure Mountain Junior High in Park City over the past four days.
Grant Seaver, 13, was reported dead Sunday morning. His friend and classmate Ryan Ainsworth was found dead in his home two days later. Their causes of death remain unknown as officials wait for the results of toxicology reports. Police officials say the 15-year-old may have known the other two overdose victims.
The most recent overdose comes one day after the Park City Police Department and School District released a statement alerting parents to the use of the new drug, U-47700—known on the street as “pink” or “pinky” because users use their pinky finger to inhale the powder. The toxic chemical has become a nationwide problem and has already caused two fatal overdoses in Utah, as well as 30 overdose incidents across the country. Colored white or pink, the powder blocks pain sensations and makes users euphoric, but in higher doses leads to coma and death.
In a statement sent to Salt Lake magazine, the police and school officials asked parents to work with them to protect students:
“We feel the need to jointly urge you to pay close attention to your child’s state of mind. If you feel that they are at risk for any dangerous behaviors, please keep them in your sight at all times.”
The new synthetic opioid is available on the Internet and is unregulated in the United States, though the Drug Enforcement Agency is moving to put it in the same regulation category as heroin and ecstasy.
Officials urged parents to look for the white powder or its liquid form in their children’s belongings, including pens and gum containers and to watch for packages and containers marked “Not for Human Consumption” or “For Research Purposes Only.”
Some doctors also recommend keeping naloxone kits, which often help treat overdoses in emergency situations, as a household item.
“One of the best ways for students to heal after a critical incident is to get back into a normal routine as quickly as possible,” said school officials. “We will have extra support and resources available for any student at any time.”