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Combating overdoses with heart: Students react to deaths at Skyline High School

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SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- It was an emotional day for students and faculty at Skyline High School on Thursday. They are continuing to grieve the loss of two students who died less than two months apart from overdoses.

Tom Beatty and Lucas Beirer both died after overdosing on pills laced with fentanyl.

Now two seniors, Siena Merrin and Ethan Kinnan, have a request.

“We encourage students to draw this heart on their hands,” Kinnan said.

It's a heart to carry around to spur conversation.

“If we can get hundreds of students to draw these black hearts, it’s a great way to get people to be aware,” Kinnan said.

Their Instagram page, Filled in Hearts Club, was initially created to combat suicides. But after the deaths of the two 16-year-old boys, the hearts are drawn to bring attention to drugs as well.

Siena and Ethan did not know Beatty or Beirer well, but Siena says both teenagers had good reputations and were beloved by students at Skyline.

“It’s crazy that one mistake, that one experiment can impact them their families everyone around them,” Merrin said.

“There is definitely some kids taking them and some kids selling them,” Kinnan said.

There is no hiding the fact that kids are using drugs. That’s why they want to talk about it.

“Kids are the only ones who know what’s going on,” Kinnan said.

Kinnan is urging other students to report information to administrators if they know someone who is dealing the drugs or taking them.

“The administration is really trying hard, it’s a tough situation to be in,” Merrin said.

Merrin says schools need to do more.

“They need to talk about it, they need to have assemblies, they need to show the risk. Students need to be scared almost, it is something so scary and it can impact everybody’s life,” Merrin said.

The tragedy is hitting Issaquah School District now but overdoses are nothing new among young people across the state. The district is applauding Beirer’s parents for releasing a statement about their son’s death hoping to raise awareness.

“It’s a shared responsibility, schools have a piece, the parents have a piece and the community has a piece,” Issaquah School District spokesperson L. Michelle said.

Merrin and Kinnan are not waiting for someone else to make that difference.

“Tell people what’s going on, it’s important to save a friend’s life than someone be mad at you,” Kinnan said.

The district says anyone can anonymously leave a tip on the district’s website.

They also say that in the past they have done educational sessions for parents on important topics like drugs. In light of the recent deaths, they will be holding a meeting at Skyline on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. to talk about what happened to Beirer and Beatty.

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