POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Four teenagers were sent to the hospital after being exposed to MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, in Lakeland Thursday.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to several calls of students at George Jenkins High School being hospitalized after possibly taking illegal drugs. Investigators believe it started in Spanish class that morning.
"Schools and drugs is not a good mix. We don’t want kids using drugs at schools. We want kids to make smart decisions obviously these kids didn’t," said Scott Wilder, the director of communications for the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
According to deputies, a 14-year-old boy had a water bottle filled with juice containing MDMA. The boy handed the bottle to a 15-year-old girl, who drank some of the juice knowing the boy added drugs in it. Deputies say the boy also drank some of the juice.
During investigation, two students told deputies they did not know what type of drug was dissolved in the bottle. The juice tested positive for MDMA, deputies said.
Both students were transported to Lakeland Regional Health Center.
Deputies also searched the boys backpack and found a baggie containing Alprazolam. He does not have a prescription for Alprazolam, deputies said.
Another search was conducted on a second boy, 14, and deputies found baggies of Alprazolam in his backpack. The second boy told deputies he and the first boy found the pills, along with a small crystalline rock in a baggie on the side of the road and split up the drug between them.
The second boy also did not have a prescription for Alprazolam and was transported to the hospital as a precaution for exposure to MDMA.
A fourth student, a 15-year-old girl, told deputies she handled the juice containing MDMA but did not drink it. She was also transported to the hospital out of precaution.
The first boy was charged with possession of MDMA, possession of MDMA with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school, possession of Alprazolam and possession of drug paraphernalia. The second boy was charged with possession of alprazolam and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Neither of the two girls involved in the drug investigation are facing criminal charges, deputies said.
"We have a great school resource officer here so he’s gonna be involved and we’re gonna continue to talk to the kids who know these other kids, and we’re gonna make sure that there’s not a serious drug problem going on, that this was an isolated incident. And we do believe that this was an isolated incident," said Wilder.
The school district sent this message to GJHS families:
This message is being sent on behalf of George Jenkins High School.
All students and staff members are safe.
We are cooperating with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office regarding an incident that occurred at George Jenkins High today. At this point, it is our understanding that four students might have voluntarily ingested an illegal substance that was placed in a drink by one of the students.
The four students were transported to the hospital for examination and any necessary medical treatment.
We will continue to cooperate with the Sheriff’s Office during this ongoing investigation. Thank you.