Park City school officials warn of drug danger after student passes out vaping THC

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PARK CITY — The Park City School District on Friday cautioned parents to watch for vape pens in their children's belongings after a ninth-grader at a junior high school was taken to a hospital after allegedly vaping THC.

THC is the main psychoactive chemical found in cannabis.

The incident happened Friday afternoon at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, according to school principal Emily Sutherland.

The student who smoked the THC "actually passed out and fell to the ground, had to get medical attention, rushed him off to the hospital for treatment," said Park City Police Capt. Phil Kirk.

Additional details about that incident or the student's condition were not immediately available.

The ninth grade student who gave the THC to the other student was arrested by police, according to a school spokeswoman.

"They think it's safer than smoking, this vaping. And in many respects, it's not. One of the things that we're seeing happen too, it seems to be more and more kids are not just using tobacco in these vaping devices, but they're using marijuana and other drugs," Kirk said.

In a statement released Friday evening, the Park City School District said that since the beginning of the school year, staff members have "recovered drug paraphernalia in a variety of vaping devices."

"This is not something that's just local to Park City. It's an issue that's happening across schools across the nation. And so it's something that we wanted to be very proactive about and enlist the help of parents," said Melinda Colton, Park City School District spokeswoman.

She said parents should know what vaping devices look like. "They look just like any pen or thumb drive that you would see on the desk of a student. They don't look like something out of the ordinary."

Colton said parents should be vigilant about checking their children's backpacks, cars and bedrooms for drug paraphernalia because "it should not be coming to school."

When a student is found with drug paraphernalia, it is considered a "safe school violation." The student is then referred to police and undergoes a district hearing, where they may be suspended, Colton said.

Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter in the news release also emphasized the need for parents to help keep drugs out of school.

"We cannot deal with the issue alone. We need to enlist the help of parents and peers," he said.

The school on Monday will offer counseling to students who were affected by the incident, Sutherland said.

School officials and parents have looked to step up conversations about drug use at Treasure Mountain Junior High since two 13-year-old friends died of drug overdoses within days of each other in September 2016.

Contributing: Alex Cabrero


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Ashley Imlay is an evening news manager for A lifelong Utahn, Ashley has also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.


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