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Police warn families as more cases of “drug candy” are showing up in Indiana schools

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Sep 07, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — It's an alarming trend that police say is growing in Indiana schools.

"We are seeing unprecedented numbers continue to rise," Teancum Clark said.

Clarks is the Vice President of the Indiana School Resource Officer Association. He says more and more schools are being impacted by drug laced candy.

"Drug candy" is something school resource officers say is happening everywhere.

"It's not a problem of is it in your school. The answer is yes, it is in your school," Clark said.

The candy nearly be hidden in plain sight, appearing to be normal candy.

"Skittles, they look like starbursts, they look like nerd ropes, they look like normal candies," Clark said.

Just Tuesday the Washington Township School District let parents know that the problem made its way to Eastwood Middle School.

In a letter sent home to parents, the school says there was an incident where edible candy laced with an unknown drug was distributed to multiple students at school.

The students who ate the candy showed signs of being under the influence and medical attention was provided.

Lisa Meeks-Monger knows first hand the consequences this "candy" can have on a child. Her then 12-year-old son was sick after being given a THC-laced candy on his way to a Lawrence Township middle school.

"Boom. I was woke and from there I was very devastated. It instantly felt like I'm about to bury my son," Meeks-Monger said.

Meeks-Monger adds she doesn't want to bash a school for this issue happening, adding that parents need to step up.

"Explain to your kids that this is not a joke. When it came to my door, I was shocked. I was like no way," she said.

Metro schools aren't the only one's impacted. Just last school year, 11 students were hospitalized after taking edibles at Mt. Vernon Middle School.

Meeks-Monger says when her son ate the "candy," he lost his ability to walk.

"He had to be wheel chaired to class. His head was down and he couldn't keep his head up. His eyes were profusely just closed. He couldn't talk, it was slurred," Meeks-Monger said.

Clark says parents and school districts can't pretend it isn't happening.

"This is something that we can't bury our heads in the sand. We can't pretend it's not in our communities. I can promise you it is," he said. "It's trickling down to our students, it's trickling down to our schools."

Meeks-Monger says she just wants parents to know it could happen to anyone.

"Wake up, wake up and don't depend on other people to tell your kids to do the wrong thing. Don't think it can't happen to you, no matter how good of a parent you think you are. No matter if you got daddy in the house or not. Whether you take them to church or not, they sing in the choir. None of that matters," Meeks-Monger said.

The Eastwood Middle School principal told parents to talk to their students and say taking candy from a friend might need to end.

As for the disciplinary consequences for the student who handed out the candy, it's not clear.

The district does say it can be extensive and add students caught bringing drugs to school are being recommended for expulsion.

The full letter sent home to Eastwood Middle School parents can be found below.

I hope this communication finds you and your family doing well. I am writing to you as a concerned member of your community, to shed light on a matter of utmost importance that affects the safety and well-being of our Eastwood students. The purpose of this correspondence is to raise awareness about the dangers posed by drug use and to urge you to have an open dialogue with your children – educating them about the risks associated with drugs. Today, we learned of an incident involving multiple students, in which an edible candy laced with an unknown drug was distributed to students here at school. Students who ingested this substance showed signs of being under the influence, and medical attention was provided to those students. Families were informed and additional medical treatment was sought out as an investigation ensued. While we are still investigating the incident, I felt it important to share information with you so that you can have these conversations with your child today. This is a good reminder to all families that our children have influences around them that threaten their welfare. With the access to illegal substances becoming more and more prevalent, our students can find themselves in some vulnerable situations. Having candid conversations with your children about how to navigate these situations, even if they never encounter them, is more important than ever. Unfortunately, the days of accepting a piece of candy from a friend may need to end. Not only can they endanger the health of our students, but the disciplinary consequences can be extensive. Students who are caught bringing drugs into our school for distribution to others are being recommended for expulsion. We all want a school that is absent of these dangers, and it is up to all of us to do everything we can to prevent this from happening.
Eastwood Middle School Principal James Tutin

If you are trying to tell the difference between regular candy and candy with drugs in it:

  • Look for spelling changes
  • Look for altered logos
  • Look close to packaging, it may show THC as an ingredient