Things That Matter

A 15-Year-Old Latina Student Found Dead In Her High School’s Bathroom After Taking A Fentanyl-Laced Drug

The fentanyl crisis continues to devastate the U.S., with drug takers dying at an unprecedented rate — many times without them knowing they are taking fentanyl in the first place. On Tuesday, a fentanyl-laced drug tragically claimed yet another life, killing 15-year-old Los Angeles student Melanie Ramos and leaving her family heartbroken in their search for justice.

The rate of overdose deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids continues to increase at an unprecedented rate — going up 56% from just 2019 to 2020. In Ramos’ case, the Bernstein High School student purchased what she thought was Percocet along with a friend, buying the pills from two juveniles aged 15 and 16. The two female students bought the pills at Lexington Park.

As per KTLA, the pills were unknowingly laced with fentanyl, and investigators believe Ramos and the other student crushed them and snorted them in a bathroom at school. At that point, both of them lost consciousness. The friend became conscious again one hour later and was able to locate her step-father, who had left his house to look for her when she did not come back from school that evening.

The friend’s step-father found her in a weak state in their school’s courtyard at 8 PM, upon which she told him she had taken half a pill that day. That evening, Ramos was found dead in the bathroom. More students at the high school reportedly also purchased pills from the same place, with three students still hospitalized from overdoses on Thursday.

Two male students from Academic Performance Excellence Academy have been arrested as suspected sellers of the drugs, facing several charges, including manslaughter and selling narcotics. 

As anyone could expect, Ramos’ family is absolutely devastated, with their lives altered forever. The 15-year-old’s mother spoke to Telemundo, explaining that her daughter was “very happy, very educated” and loving. The student had dreams of one day joining the Army.

Meanwhile, Ramos’ uncle told Univision that she had good values, was “very focused on her studies” and had “many dreams and goals.” She “loved her mother” more than anything, and usually would go straight home from school to exercise, eat, and do homework. 

Ramos’ mother also described to Telemundo how she called 911 when her daughter did not show up at home after school, but that authorities showed up to her home shortly after and told her she was dead. She also told the outlet that her daughter was obviously “tricked” and was not informed that the drug was laced with fentanyl.

The student’s aunt told CBS News, “Stop poisoning our kids… This has to stop. This can happen to anybody. Unfortunately, this happened to our family.” Another aunt added, “Think of Melanie before you take anything… Don’t take anything you’re not supposed to take.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to Twitter after Ramos’ tragic death, and chose to deliver a stern warning: “Hear this: If you peddle death to our kids, we will come for you… That’s my message to fentanyl distributors and dealers responsible for too many deaths, including one of our young angels this week.”

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