Open in App
  • U.S.
  • Election
  • Newsletter
  • The Mirror US

    College student, 19, dies of Fentanyl overdose after taking what she thought was a painkiller

    By Emilia Randall,


    A 19 year old New York medical student tragically died from a fentanyl overdose after mistakenly taking what she believed was a Percocet.

    Paige Gibbons, a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and a friend were told they were taking a Percocet pill in 2022. Tragically, it turned out to be a lethal dose of pure fentanyl.

    In an interview with New York's Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), Paige's father, David Gibbons, recounted: "She was at a friend's house, the parents were home, she and her friend were going to take a Percocet, which she thought was a Percocet. Unbeknownst to them, it was not a Percocet - it was 100% fentanyl.

    According to those close to her, Paige was not a regular drug user. She was with two friends when she took the pill, which had been bought over social media. One friend nearly died, while the other decided not to take it at all. David warned: "It doesn't discriminate. Socioeconomically, race, religion.

    READ MORE: Missouri prisoner executed for murder of ex-lover begged 'I don't want to die' amid innocence claims

    "You take a pill, and you have a potential of dying that night. " In 2023, 6,300 New Yorkers and 74,702 people nationwide died from fentanyl overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    When police informed his wife about their daughter's death, David said her scream was so loud he thought there was an intruder in the house. He recalled: "It was the loudest yell I'd heard in my life. I thought it was an intruder or something, because why was she screaming?," reports the Mirror .

    Paige's mother, Kate, said: "She trusted, maybe, her friend or her friend trusted somebody that they knew. We just thought of her as a little naive in that respect. Unfortunately, it cost her her life. I can't believe that we still hear people, you know, having this same exact situation.

    "I want to shout it from the mountaintops and make sure that everyone knows: Expect that it will happen to you; expect that you will die if you try this." David added: "One mistake was obviously Paige's worst mistake in her whole life.

    "We don't want her to be judged for the worst mistake she made." Paige, an alumna of Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, had aspirations to become a doctor. Paige's story is set to feature in an OASAS educational film titled "Addiction: The Next Step," which delves into New York's escalating fentanyl crisis.

    Fentanyl, an opioid, can be lethal even in minute quantities, and is 50 times more potent than heroin. The Drug Enforcement Agency set a record in 2023 by confiscating 79.5 million fentanyl pills, over 20 million more pills than the total amount seized in 2022.

    Lab tests revealed that seven out of ten pills seized by the agency contained a deadly dose of fentanyl, according to DEA reports. The DEA has issued a stark warning that high school and college students seeking out "study drugs" could inadvertently come into contact with fentanyl.

    Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, the coordinator of OASAS, highlighted a troubling trend: despite a decline in drug abuse among teens, overdoses are climbing due to the lethal nature of fentanyl.

    Dr. Cunningham warned: "We know with the internet and social media that kids can get what they think are real pills, but who knows where they're made or where they're coming from and what's in them? Fentanyl is finding its way into these pills and that can be deadly."

    Expand All
    Comments / 0
    Add a Comment
    Most Popular newsMost Popular

    Comments / 0