Mesa (Ariz.) Schools Combat Drug Use

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Monday, October 29, 2012

Valley teenagers are turning to synthetic drugs that are widely available, as evidenced by last week’s incident at Mesa High School.

Seven students reported feeling ill and were found to have high blood pressure and rapid heart rates. Four were transported to a hospital. One told police he had smoked spice. Spice a substance often sold as an incense in smoke shops. And while the state Legislature has made moves to ban ingredients in the synthetic drug, manufacturers change the composition to get it back on the market. Like marijuana, it is most often smoked, though it does not give off the same scent.

“Groups are moving much faster than the legal system can move to change around components to still provide it over the counter,” said David Shuff, director of guidance for the Mesa Unified School District.

Shuff’s department works with students who are found to display drug behavior. On first offense, they are given an automatic five-day suspension with recommendation for a longer suspension.

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