Three Marcellus Senior High School students have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child following a drug overdose the morning of Nov. 7 at the school.
New York State Police Investigator Art Brocolli said emergency crews were called to the school shortly before 9 a.m. Friday regarding a female student who was having reactions to a medication called Strattera. She had consumed three of the pills, which are used to treat people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, he said.
"She was taken to Upstate Medical Center where she was treated and released," Broccoli said.
As of Monday, two of the three students involved had been charged with fourth-degree criminal diversion of a prescription medication and prescription, a Class A misdemeanor.
Two of the three students who have been arrested are juveniles and the third is 16, which means they will be charged as a youthful offender.
Superintendent of Marcellus schools Craig Tice said the district is cooperating with the State Police and that the incident is "a pretty delicate matter" and any information released by the school will be pending the outcome of the police investigation.
According to Tice, the incident is ironic because the school is in the process of updating its Communities That Care survey. The survey is an "instrument to measure the incidence and prevalence of substance use, delinquency and related problem behaviors and the risk and protective factors that predict those problems in your community," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site.
The anonymous survey helps the school district put into perspective the amount of substance abuse its students engage in and compares it to that of the whole of Onondaga County, Tice said.
"We're no different or immune to that," he said regarding substance use and abuse.
Broccoli said the State Police intend to arrest a fourth student this week, also a juvenile, and it is unlikely any of those charged will serve jail time. The names of the victim and the four students who have been arrested have been released due to their age.
"At this point this particular incident will be closed with the arrest of that final person," Broccoli said. "We are hoping that additional information will be learned."
According to Broccoli, he thinks the prevalence of prescription drugs in schools is greater than people believe it is.
"I don't believe this is an isolated incident," he said. "I think there's a lot more that goes on than anyone knows about."