Dallas ISD responds to spike in prescription drug use at high school

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by MARCUS MOORE and MARIE SAAVEDRA

Bio | Email | Follow: @MSaavedraTV

WFAA

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 25 at 6:45 PM

Thomas Jefferson High School

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DALLAS –– Dallas Independent School District officials have met with parents to address concerns over a growing amount of Thomas Jefferson High School students found to be abusing the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. 

"They stop every single person. They go through your backpack; they go through your pockets," said senior Luis Virgn. "Two weeks ago we had some issues with students overdosing."

The district reports 30 incidents involving the prescription drug this semester compared to just 10 the semester prior. On Tuesday, Dallas Independent School District officials searched students and their backpacks as they entered the campus in the 4000 block of Walnut Hill Lane.

"We’ve been trying to focus really on whether or not these are coming from a legitimate source, i.e. someone getting it from their parents' medicine cabinet as opposed to someone getting it from the street," said DISD Police Chief Craig Miller.

Long lines led into the school Tuesday morning. 

“We will have a larger presence of officers on campus,” said district spokeswoman Cari Abaunza. She said officers are using drug-sniffing dogs to help search the students.

In a letter sent home to parents, the district advised them to look for mood swings, change in sleeping patterns, and a sudden change in friends for no logical reason.

"They’re not checking the right people," said senior Luis Yanez. "You can’t even go through the front door. It’s kind of pointless right now."

But if the overdoses continue, the backpack searches may be just the beginning.

"I think we need to expand our area of scope maybe to include the buses," Chief Miller said.

Parents who have questions can call 972-502-7300. Students who need help are encouraged to speak to their counselor, principal or school police. 

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com and msaavedra@wfaa.com

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