15-Year-Old Girl Dies From Drug Overdose at School in Hollywood

15-Year-Old Girl Dies From Drug Overdose at School in Hollywood
File photo of a police tape. (Andri Tambunan/AFP via Getty Images)
City News Service

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—One girl is dead and at least two others are in the hospital Sept. 14, apparently victims of drug overdoses, according to reports from the media and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

A 15-year-old girl was found dead in the girl’s bathroom at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood on Sept. 13 night, Los Angeles Police Department investigator Lt. John Radtke told Fox 11 news. Another 15-year-old girl and a teenage boy were taken to a hospital. All were victims of drug overdoses, Radtke said.

The teenagers bought Percocet that might have been laced with fentanyl, Radtke said.

Homicide detectives from the police department’s West Bureau were investigating the death and overdoses.

LAPD Hollywood officers responded at around 9 p.m. to an overdose investigation. A parent told police he found his missing stepdaughter at the high school. The girl was overdosing on drugs and she told her stepfather her friend was in the girl’s bathroom.

“They went to buy Percocet [an opioid pain reliever], ingested a pill, and began to feel ill almost immediately,” Radtke told Fox 11.

Paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department were called and tried to revive the victim who died at the scene.

The other 15-year-old girl was taken to a hospital in stable condition, LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes told City News Service.

Investigators learned two other overdoses occurred at nearby Lexington Park Tuesday night and the victims are believed to be Bernstein High School students or attend other local high schools.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to two other calls of overdoses in the area of Lexington Park.

“We think the two cases could be related,” Cervantes said.

The dead girl’s name is being withheld pending family notification.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) released a statement Wednesday morning regarding the events that happened at Bernstein High School.

“We are working with the Los Angeles Police Department, the lead agency on this ongoing investigation, and at this point and due to confidentiality issues, we have no further information to share. However, the school will be open today and we will have grief counselors on-site and available to support all students and employees.

“As we work together with LAPD to uncover details of this tragic situation, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of both students. We also thank everyone for their understanding and support today and we will share more information as it becomes available,” the school district’s statement said.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho went to Bernstein High Wednesday morning to meet with the dead girl’s family. He lashed out at the scourge of drugs being sold to teen students at Lexington Park.

“Lexington Park is two blocks away from this school,” Carvalho said. “Meaning Lexington Park is two blocks away from literally hundreds of teenagers.”

He decried the death of a 15-year-old girl who “perished at this school on the coldness of a bathroom floor.”

“That should not be the case, not in this school. Not in any school in Los Angeles or across our country,” he said. “But that’s the situation we’re facing.”

“... For the individual who apparently for a number of weeks has been spreading pain, destruction, and now death—rest assured, we are going to use the full weight and muscle of this school system, the full weight of the city’s law enforcement entity, the [Drug Enforcement Administration], to know who you are, who the people behind you are,” Carvalho said. “And we shall bring justice to the grieving parents at this school and all schools in our community.”

Carvalho said he has spoken to City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, and said Lexington Park has been closed.

In a statement to City News Service, O'Farrell called the overdoses a “horrific tragedy,” adding, “my heart breaks for the community of families and friends who are dealing with unimaginable grief.”

“Th illicit drug trade catering to vulnerable populations, especially children, deserves our immediate national attention,” he said. “We need all government and health agencies to act now and get fentanyl off the streets and out of our communities. It is literally a matter of life and death.”

Anyone with information on this overdose investigation should contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at 213-382-9470 or 877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.