Middle School Students Expelled For Prescription Drugs
by Heather Graf
SMYRNA, Tenn. - A recent bust at a mid-state middle school is shedding light on the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among teens.
Seven students at Stewarts Creek Middle School were expelled after a teacher caught them with prescription pills on campus. Rutherford County school officials sayidthey have a strict zero tolerance policy.
"Most parents are not expecting it, they say their kids know better, they don't know what their kids were thinking," said system spokesman James Evans. "But the suburban counties are seeing it more and more."
It's true not just in Rutherford County, but across the nation.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drug abuse is more common among teens than any other drug, except marijuana. Statistics also show that nearly half of teens obtain pills from their friends, and for free, and Tennessee and Kentucky have some of the worst rates of prescription drug abuse among teens.
"It's shocking, but you also feel a sense of responsibility as a pharmacist," said Beauman Dick, a pharmacist at Reeves-Sain Pharmacy in Murfreesboro. "You just think of all the different ways prescription drugs can get into the wrong hands."
He hopes incidents like the one at Stewarts Creek Middle serve as a reminder to parents, to keep their prescriptions locked up and out of their kids' reach.
"These are really serious medications, and they're controlled by the DEA for a very good reason," he said.
Evans said the students involved told school administrators they brought in two different kinds of medications. One is believed to have been a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
None of the students were charged with a crime. Evans said that's because there wasn't enough physical evidence; the kids swallowed all of the pills before owning up to what they did.