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Melanie Ramos, a 15-year-old student who died of a drug overdose this week at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood, loved to travel, dreamed of one day joining the Army and was best friends with her sisters.
“Full of life,” is how a family member described her — and as far as they knew, Melanie did not use drugs.
“You can tell when a kid struggles in any sense. They shut themselves out and they don’t want to be social, not even with family members, but that wasn’t the case here,” said Gladys Manriques, a family member who spoke on their behalf. “She was very respectful, and she made sure she let her mom know where she was at all times.”
On Friday, Melanie’s family — and an entire school community — were reeling from the girl’s death. The teen and a friend are believed to have bought pills containing deadly fentanyl from a 15-year-old boy on campus who has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Melanie’s body was found in a school bathroom, a jarring breach of the haven that schools are expected to provide and a young death that casts a harsh spotlight on the exploding fentanyl pill drug crisis in Los Angeles.
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