A 14-year-old student at Buddy Taylor Middle School was hospitalized Friday morning after showing signs of a drug overdose and telling a school psychologist she had ingested 10 pills, according to a Flagler County Sheriff’s incident report.
The incident was reported to a school resource deputy at about 8:40 Friday morning. By then school officials had tended to the student and an ambulance was called in. The student was in the dean’s office with school psychologist Shoshanah Mercado, “had a blank stare” and was not in full control of her capacities, the report states. The girl told the psychologist she didn’t know what kind of pill she’d ingested, but that she got them from a 17-year-old boy.
But she then told paramedics that she’d gotten the pills on the way to the bus stop that morning, from a 19 year old. She said there were witnesses. (She has told different accounts since, authorities say.)
Officials tried contacting the girl’s parents. Between voice mails and no answers, they were not initially successful. So as deputies attempted to make in-person contact with the child’s parents at her Flagler Beach home, a member of the school administration rode in the ambulance with the girl to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.
The girl is among a group of five or six people who walk to the bus stop together, according to what her friends told officials. None that deputies spoke to could corroborate what the girl had said took place. The girl’s brother told a deputy that he walked with her and the others but Friday morning never saw her take anything. She seemed fine to him. Another girl, who is 13, said likewise: she didn’t see any exchange of items between the victim and anyone else that morning, and sitting next to her on the bus, all seemed fine. The 13-year-old girl told authorities that she was aware of a golf cart incident that had involved the victim, and that the 14 year old had had seizures in the previous two weeks.
There was no additional clarity by Monday: the investigation was turned over to detectives at the sheriff’s office, and is ongoing.
Local school officials contend with minor drug or substance abuse issues from time to time–pot, prescription pills, vaping. But overdoses–which have been routine beyond the schoolhouse door, but affecting adults–are extremely rare on school grounds or during school hours. The substance abuse issue in middle schools currently is vaping, with 10.4 percent of 8th graders reporting some vaping in the past 30 days, though most of that was not for nicotine or marijuana, but just flavoring, according to the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey by the University of Michigan, the standard reference for data on drug use in children. But the proportion of 8th graders who have used amphetamines or methamphetamines in the past 30 days is below 2 percent, while the overall proportion of those using any illicit drugs, including inhalants, at least once in the previous 30 days is 8.3 percent–a decline from a peak of 17.5 percent in 1996. See the complete numbers here.