PALMVIEW, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Border Patrol agents visited IDEA Academy in Palmview to raise awareness about drugs and living a healthy lifestyle.

The visit was part of the school’s Red Ribbon Week with efforts focused on educating students on the dangers of drugs as well as the increasing use of the deadly drug fentanyl.

“It’s building curiosity for careers like the Border Patrol and all of the different things that they offer versus doing drugs,” Deirdre Medina, College Prep Principal at IDEA Palmview said.

IDEA Palmview students are entering their teenage years and coming face-to-face with Border Patrol to keep their focus away from drugs.

“In middle school, that’s when they start to become exposed to it with the peer pressure. And then, in the elementary, that’s when students can often see it being used by either community members, friends of friends and they start to learn about it that way,” Medina said.

Agents spoke with students on the rise of fentanyl use in the United States with alerts to the amount of deadly fentanyl overdoses in 2012.

The number of overdoses in 2012 was at 2,600. In 2021, the number of overdoses increased to 68,000.

“I mean it’s an issue nationwide. Over the past few years, we have seen more and more of it. You know, as far as in the field, it comes and goes just like everything else,” Brandon Perryman, RGV Sector Border Patrol Agent said.

Schools and law enforcement know the importance of raising awareness about the drug to kids at this age.

Perryman warns students not to take drugs from people they don’t know and to be advised on what they’re taking for prescribed medication.