Campus incidents spur formation of drug task force

Posted: Friday, March 02, 2001

KETCHIKAN -- Students have been caught under the influence of drugs at Ketchikan High School in at least six incidents over the past two months, spurring school district officials to create a drug task force.

The formation of the group is in response to a report from student school board member Lindsey Barnes about the incidents, Superintendent Harry Martin said this week. Each of the incidents involved one student.

Martin said five of the students took prescription drugs, such as pain killers. ''The kids seem to be taking these prescription drugs just to see what happens,'' Martin said.

Two of the students reportedly reacted strongly to the drugs. They fell on the floor of the school's commons area and were rushed to the hospital by ambulance, Martin said.

''They were really out of it,'' he said.

Parents drove another student to the hospital themselves. Parents of two other students took them home. A sixth student, who had smoked marijuana, was driven home by parents, Martin said.

All the students are fine now and have been disciplined, according to Martin. He said district policy requires that students be suspended for at least three days.

Establishing a drug task force is a logical next step, Martin said. The school district is also developing a drug policy -- similar to one at Sitka schools -- that calls for random testing of athletes.

Task force members are still being selected, but likely will include medical and drug rehabilitation representatives, as well as parents, counselors and psychologists. The point is to address a problem that affects a whole community.

''We have to be able to do something other than call 911 after it happens,'' Martin told the Ketchikan Daily News.

The task force will begin meeting next week.

''This is not a knee-jerk reaction,'' Martin said. ''We want to be proactive before it gets out of control.

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