U.S. Military Academy and fire officials said Friday that at least two of the school’s cadets, including a football player, were involved in a situation in which six people overdosed on cocaine containing fentanyl at a vacation home in Florida during spring break.
Two of the six people were in critical condition, relief and emergency officials said. A West Point official told The Associated Press that one of the hospitalized cadets was an Army football player. The official said another football player in the house was not hospitalized. The official had no further information and could not give the player’s condition. No name has been released. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation.
The New York Academy’s public affairs office released a statement Friday afternoon saying its officials are “aware of the situation involving West Point cadets, which occurred Thursday evening in the Wilton community. manor”.
He added that “no further details are available at this time”. The South Florida Sun Sentinel first reported that some of the victims were West Point cadets.
On Friday afternoon, Fort Lauderdale Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Gollan told the AP that two critically ill victims were on ventilators. Two other victims were in stable condition, one was in good condition and one was released.
Gollan said earlier that after two victims collapsed on Thursday, two others fell ill trying to give them CPR from the residue on their bodies. When paramedics arrived, six people at home needed treatment. He said naloxone, an anti-opioid overdose drug, was administered. Neighbors told local media that the house was an often-rented vacation home.
Fentanyl is an unpredictable and potent synthetic painkiller blamed for leading to an increase in fatal drug overdoses. It’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and used to treat severe pain, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also slows down a person’s breathing and heart rate.
Gollan said that in the 70 days since Jan. 1, his department has responded to 215 suspected opioid overdoses; nearly all involved fentanyl. He didn’t know how many had died, but said it was a two-year trend that started when the coronavirus pandemic started and hasn’t abated.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said its detectives are investigating with Wilton Manors police. A spokesperson said no further details could be released due to the ongoing investigation.
Hill reported from Albany, New York.