Los Angeles

Mother of Fentanyl Overdose Victim Wants Stricter Legislation for School Campuses

The mother of a 15-year-old fentanyl overdose victim is fighting for stricter legislation.

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A mother is fighting for change after losing her daughter to a fentanyl overdose, and she is heading to Sacramento to plead with lawmakers to do more to protect children.

Melanie Ramos' mother has filed a lawsuit against the LAUSD alleging the school district knew about the drug use on campus and didn't do anything to stop it. Now the mother is getting ready to speak before the California Legislature in support of Melanie's Law that's aimed at preventing opioid and fentanyl overdoses in youth.

In September, 15-year-old Melanie Ramos was found dead inside the girls restroom at Helen Bernstein High School. It was determined that she died of a fentanyl overdose. When she didn't show up for lunch that day her family filed a missing persons report.

Around 9 p.m. the day of Ramos' death a man called police after his daughter did not return home from school, according to the LAPD. Her father went to the high school to search the campus and found his daughter in the courtyard suffering from an overdose.

The girl was able to tell her father that her friend was also suffering from an overdose and was still inside the restroom at school. The man found a school employee who went on a search to find the girl's friend. When they entered one of the restrooms they found the second girl unresponsive, it was Ramos.

When first responders arrived at the school they pronounced Ramos dead. The other girl was rushed to a hospital and was later released after being treated.

Ramos' family says the district didn't move fast enough. They claim in a lawsuit that the school knew about illegal drug use on campus and did nothing to stop it.

According to police, they believe the girls purchased what they were told was Percocet, which is a prescription drug that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Th girls bought the drug at Lexington Park which is just south of Bernstein High that same day. Police believe that the pills the girls ingested were laced with fentanyl.

Two additional overdose victims were also found nearby on the same day, police said, and they are believed to be part of the same case.

The day after the incident took place LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho went to Bernstein high to meet with Ramos' family.

"Lexington Park is two blocks away from this school," Carvalho said. "Meaning Lexington Park is two blocks away from literally hundreds of teen-agers."

He said the 15-year-old girl "perished at this school on the coldness of a bathroom floor."

"That should not be the case, not in this school. Not in any school in Los Angeles or across our country,'' he said. "But that's the situation we're facing.

"For the individual who apparently for a number of weeks has been spreading pain, destruction and now death -- rest assured, we are going to use the full weight and muscle of this school system, the full weight of the city's law enforcement entity, the (Drug Enforcement Administration), to know who you are, who the people behind you are. And we shall bring justice to the grieving parents at this school and all schools in our community."

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of manslaughter in connection to Ramos' overdose death.

The boy, a student at an independent charter school located on the same campus in Hollywood, also was accused in an overdose that left the girl's friend hospitalized, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said. A 16-year-old boy also was arrested and booked on suspicion of drug sales for allegedly selling narcotics to a third student at Lexington Park near the high school.

Both teens under arrest are students at Apex Academy who knew each other, Moore said.

Since the incident the LAUSD has worked at implementing a new program to have Narcan on campuses. Every K-12 school has Narcan on-hand.

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