A local district attorney says since school began, 10 students in her district have gotten disoriented or even passed out after inhaling what's known as vape juice. It's a dangerous trend that is hitting at least three local counties pretty hard.
We showed parents and grandparents pictures of vaping devices collected by the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney, devices that looked like normal tech items, such as a pen, flash drive or mouse.
"I have no idea what that is, that might be a phone," said Kellie Bertram. "But I have no idea what that is."
"I would think it was something that went to a computer or something like that," said Chris Sutton.
The DA says within the last week, 10 middle school and high school students in Pickens, Fannin and Gilmer counties, had to be treated by EMT's. Some even had to be transported to hospitals. That's why she is working closely with the sheriffs and superintendents in all three counties.
"They may or may not know what's contained in those pods. That is a huge cause for alarm," said DA Alison Sosebee.
"(They) don't know what they're laced with and don't know what they're selling and distributing," said Pickens County Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson. "It's not knowing what they're actually taking that's so scary."
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The DA says preliminary tests show the cannabinoid substance being vaped is actually a Schedule 1 drug. It's in the same class, because of its addictive properties, as LSD and heroin.
"Once we identify what's in that vape as far as a liquid," said Sheriff Donnie Craig, "It could be a serious felony charge. So this is serious and they need to take it serious."
"You just gotta talk to them," said Sutton, who has a middle school student and elementary-age kids too. "Do the best you can, that's all you can do. You can't control 100 percent of what they do."
"I have to tell my daughter that. She's going to be disturbed," said Bertram.
Sosebee says they are planning parent meetings and student workshops within the next month to make everyone aware of the dangers of vaping. Students could face school suspension and legal charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of a controlled substance.
Cox Media Group