(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — Rayann Duran is a Junior at Fountain-Fort Carson High School (FFCHS) and spoke at the Dangers of Fentanyl and Substance Abuse Panel about her personal experiences with substance abuse through her family. Duran talked about her brother’s addiction and overdose.

Duran said her brother was found unconscious in the family’s bathroom, when Duran and others in the household revived her brother through CPR and splashing water on his face. Duran spoke of how the traumatizing event ultimately affected her emotions.

Duran then shared how her grandfather received “pain” medication from her brother, which they believed did not contain fentanyl after research. Duran’s sister had commented about their grandfather being “off” during the day. After her brother dropped off food, her mother tried to make contact and could not reach Duran’s grandfather.

Rayann Duran
Courtesy: Dangers of Fentanyl and Substance Abuse Panel

Duran and her mother found him laying down in his bed, not breathing. Duran began CPR, while her brother performed the breaths. “The one thing that kept me going was just listening out for the sirens. I just knew I had to hear them,” Duran said.

Her grandfather was pronounced dead in the early hours of the morning, Duran said. She remarked on the physical soreness after performing CPR and how she did not regret her actions to attempt to save her grandfather’s life.

“I personally feel like Narcan should be in first aid kits or just more commonly carried around, as it can save someone one day,” she said. She also advocated for more education on Narcan and how it can save a life.

Molly Sweeney and Mandy Walderon were the next speakers for the panel. Sweeney spoke about the mental health crises more teenagers are facing and how Fountain-Fort Carson District 8 (FFC8) has implemented changes in the form of the social/emotional support team at FFCHS.

Sweeney highlighted three ways she and her colleagues address the mental health and substance abuse issues students are facing which include; prevention, education, and intervention.

Through Trojan Academic Period or TAP classes, the counseling department can do “school-wide prevention lessons, education, give [students] skills… and we don’t focus on just a student in need, we’re trying to hit all the students.”

A recent lesson Sweeney talked about was mindfulness and coping skills. The high school’s counseling department also has its own wellness resources page.

The middle and high schools’ health curriculum touches on mental health needs and substance abuse awareness. Walderon also talked about how closely the FFCHS counseling department works with the school deans.

“Anytime we have a student in in-school detention, if they have behavior infractions related to substance abuse, we receive a form where the students fill out a survey, tell us what they’re struggling with and we meet with them one-on-one,” Walderon said.