Girl Dies Because Of A Fentanyl Painkiller, Another One In The Spree Of Texas Teen Deaths

Girl dies from fentanyl-laced painkiller, latest in wave of Texas teen deaths

A 16-year-old Texas girl died of fentanyl poisoning after taking just one pill laced with the opioid, her parents and the teen’s school district announced Wednesday — the latest in a wave of teen overdoses in the state sparking lawmakers to call for schools to increase education surrounding the drug. Sienna Vaughn, a junior at Plano High School in Plano, Tex., took a pill Feb. 19 that she got from a friend that she thought was Percocet, a prescription painkiller she believed could help her relax, the girl’s family wrote on a memorial website for her. But when Stephanie Vaughn, her mother, went to go check on Sienna and her friend, she found her daughter pale and the friend gurgling on the bed, she told KDFW. Medics rushed the two to a hospital. The friend survived, but Sienna was pronounced dead of what was confirmed to be fentanyl poisoning.

“They didn’t know what they had,” Sienna’s mother told the TV station. “They didn’t know it was fentanyl.”

In a letter sent to parents Wednesday evening, Plano Independent School District Superintendent Theresa Williams confirmed that an unidentified student had recently died of a fentanyl overdose.

“We recently experienced the tragic loss of one of our beloved Plano ISD students to a deadly fentanyl poisoning,” Williams said in the letter, according to WFAA. “I cannot express the sadness and grief that we are all feeling.”


The Vaughn family told The Washington Post that they have been “crushed by the sudden loss of our wonderful daughter and sister. “She meant everything to us and we’ll never fully recover,” the family said in a statement. “Our goal in going public with her story is to honor her memory by trying to save the lives of other children.”

Sienna’s death is the latest fatal teen fentanyl overdose to rock Texas in recent months, as parents, lawmakers and authorities respond via interviews, proposed bills and even billboards featuring the faces of young people who have died.In North Texas, there have been nearly a dozen cases of students in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District overdosing on fentanyl between September and early March, NBC News reported. The cases, which include three deaths, brought about charges against three people for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, according to a federal complaint last month.Billboards went up this week near Austin showing Cameron Stewart, a 19-year-old from Cedar Park, Tex., who died after taking a laced Valium in 2021. The billboard, which features a photo of a smiling Stewart, reads, “Fentanyl kills … just ask my mom!” What’s unfolding in Texas reflects the nationwide uptick in fentanyl overdoses among young people. Depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage, a fentanyl dose of as little as 2 milligrams can be lethal, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.