Media Advisory: County Leaders, Law Enforcement and Advocates to Discuss Rise in Student Opioid Overdose and Deaths

January 18, 2023

Key leaders in education, law enforcement, health services, and drug use prevention advocates will gather to speak to an alarming rise in Illegal Opioid use, especially Fentanyl, in our youth. Data is showing not only a rise in overdose cases but a rise in death rates. These are dangerous trends that parents and students must be aware of. 

Media Briefing Details:

WHAT: Multiple county agency leaders discuss the rise in the use and availability of illegal opioids, often laced with Fentanyl, and the alarming rise in overdose cases, including those resulting in death.

WHERE: Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr. Rockville MD, 20850 (Auditorium) also hybrid via Zoom

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 19 at 3:00 p.m.


  • Ms. Karla Silvestre, President, Montgomery County Board of Education
  • Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, Superintendent of Schools
  • Marcus Jones, Chief of the Montgomery County Police Department
  • John McCarthy, States Attorney Montgomery County
  • Elena Suarez, mother of Collette Russ, class of 2019, SOUL (Surviving Our Ultimate Loss)
  • Dr. Patricia Kapunan, MCPS School System Medical Officer (virtual)

Also Available for an Interview

  • Ben Stevenson, Manager, Prevention and Harm Reduction, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Rolando Santiago, Ph.D.., Chief of Behavioral Health & Crisis Services, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Kisha Davis, M.D., Health Officer & Chief, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Laura Mitchell, Advocate, Montgomery Goes Purple
  • Ed Clarke, Director, MCPS Department of Emergency Management and School Security
  • Various Law Enforcement Leaders
  • Family members affected by overdose from SOUL (Surviving Our Ultimate Loss)

Members of the media are asked to contact to RSVP. 


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