School officials initiated a drug prevention program last week after two on-campus prescription overdose incidents occurred within days.
“We obviously didn't act soon enough,” said Bill Stephens, Superintendent.
It was reported Friday that a Miami High School student was taken to the emergency room following a possible prescription drug overdose.
In addition, two other students reported to school officials they had also taken an undetermined number of prescription medications “during first hour”.
Two weeks ago, two students were taken to the emergency room after school officials found them in the boy's bathroom in what they described as “serious medical condition.”
One of the teens was unresponsive and admitted to the hospital on a ventilator.
The second student was “very lethargic,” according to police reports. Fortunately, both students were treated and released.
“With two incidents back to back, we felt like we had to do something,” Stephens said.
Instead of the traditional way of educating students about the dangers of drugs, school officials decided to use a more graphic approach.
“We weren't sure we were getting through to them,” Stephens said.
Equipment was borrowed from the hospital emergency room to show students exactly what would happen to them if they overdosed.
“They were shown the barium they would have to drink, a catheter and how the catheter would be inserted,” Stephens said. “We let them know this was not an option. This is what will happen to you.”
Stephens said they also explained the legal consequences and what kind of disciplinary action the school will take.
“I think it had some effect on the kids,” Stephens said. “We have had some come forward.”
Stephens said the program was also conducted for eighth grade students through the D.A.R.E. program.
“The important thing we want kids to know is that if they have a problem we're going to help them,” Stephens said.
Last week's incident's are just part of the latest drug frenzy - getting high (or low) from prescription drugs.
Officials say the appeal is driven by the fact that the drugs can be legally obtained, the stigma of going to a street pusher can be avoided and the price isn't steep.
A 2007 report found drug overdose deaths are now the second leading cause of death in America.
The most popular prescriptions among high school students is vicodin, ritalin and oxycodone.
Drug abuse by teens, in general is on the rise, according to the Department of Health and Human Services - and so are drug overdoses.
Marijuana is notorious for being the “gateway” drug to introduce addictive substances to young people. The age for marijuana use decreases almost annually.
Last Thursday, a 12-year-old Miami middle school student was taken into custody after school officials found marijuana in the student's pocket.
Contrary to popular belief, living in rural America is not the safest place for teens, according to studies by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Rural teens are 83 percent more likely to use crack cocaine, 34 percent more likely to smoke marijuana, and twice as likely to use amphetamines than teens in large cities.
Rural areas often have fewer prevention, enforcement, and rehabilitation resources.