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Who will solve the problem of drugs in schools?

But passing a law forbidding kids to use prescription medications is not going to keep them out of the medicine cabinet, at least not on its own, said Elmer.

"It doesn't mean we shouldn't have some structured regulations around that, we absolutely should. But that's only one piece," she said.

Unfortunately, it may be one piece not soon to fall into place.

The gray area

Robert Warner, 13th District Onondaga County legislator and chair of the Health

Committee, said last week the legislature has not yet discussed a law that would target unauthorized juveniles for possession of prescription drugs.

"Generally those kinds of laws come from the state level," Warner said. "But not always," he added, pointing out much tobacco legislation that was passed in Onondaga County and later adopted by the state.

"I think we have to really analyze, first of all, 'what is the problem?' to get a handle on it," Warner said of prescription drug abuse.

James Rhinehart, 6th District Legislator, said stricter regulations on prescription medication is not necessarily the answer.

"A lot of this stuff, personally I believe should be left up to the parents," Rhinehart said. "I know it's difficult, but part of it's parenting. If kids are going to steal prescription drugs, I think a lot of that has got to start right at home."

This month, 'Onondaga Tobacco 19,' a proposal that would increase the legal age of tobacco sale from 18 to 19 years old, was passed by the Health Committee for the third time.

Warner said the intent of the bill would be to keep older high school students from purchasing tobacco for underclassmen, and by upping the legal age to purchase tobacco products would hopefully be harder to come by for under-aged students.

"Hopefully by 19, most kids are out of school," Warner said.

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