SAN DIEGO — To start Red Ribbon week in the San Marcos Unified School District, the district had former DEA special agent Rocky Herron speak Monday during an assembly to more than 1,200 students at Woodland Park Middle School.

“Rainbow fentanyl is a very scary development,” former DEA Special Agent Rocky Herron said. “I try to make the kids aware of how scary it is to experiment with drugs today and parents aware of it and hopefully that causes the continuation of the conversation at home.”

Fentanyl is considered a public health crisis in San Diego County and the San Marcos Unified School District said it wants to get ahead of the problem with their students.

“While we haven’t experienced it here at Woodland Park Middle School or in San Marcos Unified School District, we really want to be proactive and we want to work with parents to really prepare them to have tough conversations with their kids.”

The more than 1,200 students at Woodland Park Middle School listened to Herron speak during an assembly. At night, parents and the community were invited to attend to hear him speak.  

Herron said education is where long-term change can happen.

“I’m really glad the district brought this in,” parent Dan Wilbers said.

According to county data in San Diego last year, 12 students under the age of 18 died from a fentanyl overdose. 

“There’s no limit to how much a drug trafficker can make, we in law enforcement can seize 1 million pounds of it and the drug traffickers can produce 2 million more,” Herron said.  

Less than a week ago, San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved mandating fentanyl education and Narcan distribution in county schools.  

The district said it has Narcan and staff trained to use it at every school.