15-year-old student overdoses on 15 pills at JHS

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department is investigating an incident involving a Jonesboro High School student who overdosed on an over-the-counter cold medicine.


According to police, a 15-year-old student told the school resource officer she ingested "15 triple C's," a slang term for Coricidin Cough & Cold pills. 


Police said the student was incoherent, and told the resource officer "I can't feel anything," and "All I want to do is go to sleep."


Police said the 15-year-old told the school nurse she got the pills from another student. "You can't attempt to use sell or distribute those things whether illegal or not to other students," said Jonesboro High School principal Mike Shelton.


Principal Skelton said school policy is cut and dry concerning medication on campus, prescription or not.


"We don't really distinguish between one or the other. We ask them to bring all medication in to the nurse, check it in there, and we set up time throughout the day for those kids to come down there and take their medicine."


Police said the 15-year-old student took the pills during school hours to get a "headrush."


The over-the-counter drug contains dextromethorphan, a commonly used ingredient in cold medications, and among teenagers for recreation.


 "What we've seen is somewhat of a popularity decline in the use of it, but because it's so easily available at any time it can become a popularly abused drug because you don't need a prescription for it," said UAMS clinical pharmacy faculty member Dosha Cummins.


UAMS assistant professor Shane Speights encourages parents to keep medications in the house to a minimum and keep track of how much is used.


"As a parent that would be a big red flag because all of a sudden I've noticed in our medicine cabinet or in my kids bathroom that they had four or five boxes of this over the counter cold medicine."


The Jonesboro High School students who distributed and consumed the medication on school property could be facing punishment from the school and the Jonesboro Police Department.


Sergeant Lyle Waterworth said the investigation is still going on. No charges have been filed.


Principal Skelton said the severity of the punishment depends on the outcome of the police investigation, the history of the students and what the Jonesboro Public Schools superintendent and school board decide.


The punishment could vary from a 10-day suspension to expulsion.


"We are actually in the process of determining what we're going to be doing," said Principal Skelton.

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