Four teenagers were hospitalized Friday morning for suspected opioid overdoses after three of the teens were discovered unconscious outside in an east Vancouver neighborhood.
A homeowner near Northeast 147th Avenue and Northeast 79th Street called 911 at 5:10 a.m. after finding two unconscious teen males in the driveway of their home. The teens were unrelated to the 911 caller but live in the area, said Clark County Sheriff Office Cmdr. Mike McCabe.
About 45 minutes later, deputies found a third teenager in a nearby yard, McCabe said. All three appeared to be suffering from drug overdoses, he said. Based on the teens’ signs of intoxication, McCabe said he suspects an opioid.
The three teens were transported by Vancouver Fire Department and American Medical Response to local hospitals. About two hours later, a fourth teenager showing signs of an overdose was taken to a local hospital by a parent, McCabe said.
Police were unsure if additional teens were involved and began a thorough search of the area, issued a reverse 911 call and asked neighbors for assistance, McCabe said.
“Our biggest concern at that point was that there would be some teenager in a yard, in a backyard, on the side of a house that was unaccounted for and in medical distress, and we wanted to make sure we got them help as soon as we could,” McCabe said.
The sheriff’s office also worked with Heritage High School to ensure that any students absent from classes were accounted for and safe, he said. Three of the four teenagers hospitalized are Heritage students, McCabe said.
Confident there were no other teens at risk, deputies closed that portion of the investigation at about noon, McCabe said. A detective has been assigned to the case and will continue the investigation to determine what the teens ingested and where they got it, he said.
All four teens are males 17 to 18 years old and are friends, McCabe said. They’re hospitalized at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and a Portland hospital. Their conditions were not available Friday afternoon.
Police are not releasing the names of the teens.
Opioid overdoses, even among teenagers, are not uncommon in Clark County, McCabe said.
“This is not only a national problem, this is a local problem, as well,” he said. “It’s not a drug you want to play with. It’s very unforgiving, and when you go down, if you don’t get medical assistance quickly, you can be in a whole lot of trouble.”
Emergency responders did administer Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug, but it’s unclear how many of the teens received the drug, McCabe said.
“The individual that notified 911 gave us an opportunity to potentially save several teenagers this morning,” he said.