Avon schools address substance abuse in wake of two student deaths from suspected overdoses

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Posted at 11:57 PM, May 18, 2023

AVON — Avon High School students are still processing the death of two high school students earlier this year.

The school corporation says the teens both died of suspected drug overdoses within weeks of each other in March and May.

Police have not officially determined which drug the teens may have taken, but multiple blue pills imprinted with the letter M were found in one of the teen's drawers.

Their exact cause of death will not be released until full toxicology reports are completed.

Jessica Lundy says her daughter, a freshman at Avon High School, was friends and classmates with one of the boys, 16-year-old Noah Pillow.

“He helped her get through some things in life. Just kinda was a class clown, all in all. And made her laugh," Lundy said. “It makes me concerned. Like, I gotta have these conversations with my child. Is there something that my child is hiding from me? How do I go through her room without basically invading her privacy?”

READ | Parents share concerns about youth drug use in Central Indiana

Lundy and her daughter came to the auditorium of Avon Middle School North Thursday evening, in his honor.

The school district, law enforcement and local advocacy groups held a substance abuse information session for parents and students.

“One of the most important things for parents and any adult in a kids life to realize is that they can be the single most important connection for that kid to build resilience. Building resilience requires safety, connection for kids, of any age. Safety and connection are what enables a young person’s brain to open up to the conversation of why we should avoid substances," Chase Cotten said.

He’s the Community Director at The Willow Center — a Hendricks County-based substance use treatment and mental health counseling agency.

Cotten was also one of the presenters Thursday evening.

“We estimate that over 90 percent of substance use cases are directly linked to a mental health struggles like depression, anxiety, trauma. The reason we know that is because statistically we know there is a reason someone is using a substance," he said.

READ | Two Avon students die from suspected overdoses

If you are worried about someone in your life struggling with substance use, Cotten says the first step is to create a dialogue with them.

“There’s a lot of fear and there’s a lot of isolation surrounding this conversation, be it mental illness or addiction. If you can break the ice and be that friend who’s safe to come to, that can make a world of difference."

To learn more about substance abuse resources in Hendricks County, click here.