Experts react to recent substance cases at Hamilton County Schools

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) — The community is reacting after four Central High School students ingested a fruit snack laced with marijuana on Wednesday.

School board member Rhonda Thurman was saddened to hear the news about the students taking the drug and getting sick.

“What is really frightening to me is one of these kids is eventually going to die. They are going to get a hold of some kind of drug that is either going to stop their heart, stop their breathing, cause them to have a stroke,” Thurman said.

All students are okay, but the principal says they face some serious disciplinary consequences. A similar incident happened one week ago at Brainerd High School. Five students got sick after ingesting some kind of substance.

Dr. John Heise, with Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, says when kids gain independence they can look to their peers for advice.

“If it is peer pressure to go out to a party and to try your first beer or to try some marijuana or something else, that itself is peer pressure. You can say no to that very easily and I tell the teenagers all of the time know how to say no to that peer pressure,” Dr. Heise said.

Melanie Berg, the prevention and community programs manager at CADAS, says it is especially dangerous to take substances if you’re not sure what it is.

“With it being edibles at Central High School, there is a higher level of THC, which we see stronger psychotic features and more long lasting affects. And with it being an edible it take longer to get into your blood streams, so ‘I am going to take more of it because I am not feeling the affect I want.’ So it is even more dangerous,” Berg said.

Thurman hopes students realize this behavior won’t be tolerated.

“It just can’t go on because this just takes away from the educational experience from all of the other students,” she said.

Officials with the Superintendent’s office said he can’t comment on the recent incident at Central because of the ongoing investigation.

They say they are working on providing some resources to high schools to inform teens of the dangers involved in ingesting items brought to school by others.

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