Lake Travis ISD Wellness Watch

FALL 2022

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HEALTHY LIVING: One Pill Can Kill - The Dangers of Fentanyl



What Can Parents Do About Bullying?

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By: Becca Harkleroad, RN, NCSN

Lead Nurse, Lake Travis ISD

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration pulled more than 10 million fentanyl-laced pills and almost a half-ton of fentanyl powder off the streets from late May to early September 2022. Why is this big news?

Most of these pills are “fentapills” - fake pills made to look like other pharmaceutical medications that have a known risk of being misused. These pills are widely available and easily obtained by anybody with access to a social media account. Because these pills are frequently sold through social media contacts, young people believe they are getting their expected pill from a ‘trusted friend,’ so the assumption is that they are real and safe. The fake pills are cleverly pressed and imprinted similarly to legitimate prescription medication. It is difficult - if not impossible - to distinguish the real pills from the fake just by looking.

You may have heard the story of Cameron Stewart, a Cedar Park 19-year-old who lost his life when what he thought was a Valium turned out to be a fake pill with a lethal dose of Fentanyl. His mom graciously shared her experience in our Winter 2021 SHAC Newsletter. She pointed out that this is not just a substance use or addiction issue. For many kids, they could be experimenting for the first time with what they think is an Adderall, Xanax, Percocet, or even marijuana, and receive a fatal dose of fentanyl instead. And it doesn’t take much to be fatal. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin.


This information can be terrifying, as it highlights the deadly high stakes of even one experimental choice by a teen or young adult. The DEA offers some great resources in its ONE PILL CAN KILL campaign that are helpful for parents and caregivers to understand the dangers and effects of fentanyl as well as common slang terms related to social media drug trade.

Their Tips for Parents and Caregivers are listed here:.

  • Lock up any prescription medications you have at home

  • Encourage open and honest communication

  • Explain what fentanyl is and why it’s so dangerous

  • Stress not to take any pills that were not prescribed directly to you from a doctor

  • Explain that no pill purchased on social media is safe

  • Create an “exit plan” and refusal skills to help your child know what to do when faced with pressure to take a pill or use any other drugs

It’s also important to know the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose/poisoning, which include:

  • Small, constricted, “pinpoint” pupils

  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness

  • Slow, weak, or no breathing

  • Choking or gurgling sounds

  • Limp body

  • Cold and/or clammy skin

  • Discolored (bluish) skin around lips and nails

If you believe someone is experiencing opioid overdose/poisoning, do the following:

  • Call 911 immediately

  • Administer Narcan (naloxone) if available

  • Try to keep the person awake and breathing

  • Lay the person on their side to prevent choking

  • Stay with the person until emergency assistance arrives


All Lake Travis ISD campus nurses and law enforcement officers are equipped with Narcan, a highly-effective, life-saving medication that can help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes.

For parents and other caregivers interested in purchasing Narcan for your home (or even to carry for emergency use on others): Texas law allows any adult individual to purchase Narcan from a pharmacy without a prescription.

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Lake Travis ISD Mental Health Parenting Video Series

Earlier this fall, Lake Travis ISD's team of Licensed Social Workers kicked off this year's parenting video series with its first episode: Anxiety and Depression 101. This video series will be available on the LTISD website's Health and Social & Emotional Learning page. Click below to watch the 30-minute video.
Anxiety & Depression 101

What Can Parents Do About Bullying?

by: Jennifer Lyon, M.Ed.

Director of Health and SEL, Lake Travis ISD

As parents, we are always striving to find ways to best support our children while helping them navigate the ever-changing world we live in. As we just wrapped up October, National Bully Prevention Month, I’d like to provide some ways you can work with your children at home to prevent them from the giving and receiving end of bullying.

First, I’d like to give the legal definition of bullying that schools use to define what direction to go in when this is reported.

Bullying is generally defined as an intentional act that causes harm to others, and may involve verbal harassment, verbal or non-verbal threats, physical assault, stalking, or other methods of coercion such as manipulation, blackmail, or extortion. It is aggressive behavior that intends to hurt, threaten or frighten another person. An imbalance of power between the aggressor and the victim is often involved.

The Texas School Safety Center has a great checklist schools often use to help guide their investigations into these matters. This is helpful for you as a parent to understand what is happening on the school end once a report is made. There are times when students are dealing with bully-like behaviors that may not actually meet the definition of bullying. Regardless of how it is labeled, it should always be addressed both at school and at home. But what can you do at home to reduce this risk in the first place? Here are some ideas…

  • Nurture a positive family climate or the felt sense of safety and security with family members in the home. Does home feel chaotic and crazy, or organized and predictable? Are the adults modeling the kinds of behaviors and relationships they want their children to have? Are expectations too high or too low? Do family members exert power by dominating and manipulating? Are siblings respectful and kind to each other? Researchers have found that children who experience sibling bullying and or see dominating or manipulating behaviors at home are more likely to be involved in bullying outside the home–either as the bully, an enabler, or on the receiving end of bullying behavior.

  • Teach interpersonal and emotional skills. When parents talk about their feelings and teach emotion management to their children, it will become normalized and easier for children to navigate peer issues and stand up for themselves and others. Encouraging supportive friendships and helping kids understand others’ perspectives also goes a long way toward teaching empathy and resilience. Helping children recognize and utilize their own strengths can help them through difficult peer situations and be a protective factor against bullying.

  • Use an authoritative parenting style at home. This style of parenting offers a high degree of warmth, love, and closeness, while also providing clear limits and expectations. This type of parenting supports mental health, stronger relationship skills and higher achievement.

  • Talk early and often, say something when you see something! When adults remain silent about bad behavior or bullying, it’s the same as encouraging and accepting it. Name calling and small acts of teasing should be stopped in their tracks. If you fail to correct this kind of behavior it can easily grow into more aggressive acts.

  • Teach your child how to be assertive, not aggressive. Encouraging your child to clearly express their feelings, and how to say no, will help them feel empowered to stand up for themselves in hard situations.

  • Listen and support children who speak up. Don’t say “boys will be boys”, or “that’s just the way mean girls are”. Listen and affirm what they say and offer support and guidance. Pay attention to the mental health needs of your child as well, as isolation, poor concentration, depression and sleeping issues can affect your child’s resilience and relationship skills.

Parents and school staff all want the best for the children in our community. Let’s work together by modeling kind, respectful behavior and empathetic problem solving so our children learn what they live and see on a daily basis. This is how we end bullying behavior once and for all.

Additional Resources:

What's WSCC?

"The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model is CDC’s framework for addressing health in schools. The model focuses on the student and emphasizes the collaboration between schools, communities, public health, and health care sectors to align resources in support of the whole child." -U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Notice at the center of the WSCC model is a child. We believe every child should be safe, healthy, challenged, supported, and engaged. This is achieved through the supportive structures of family, school, and community surrounding the child.

This spring, Lake Travis ISD's School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) decided to create a quarterly newsletter to share information that will help families and the community support student health in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, social and emotional wellness, and health education. We will focus on these areas to support and encourage families to implement simple habits that are important for healthy development.