Elkhart school bus overdoses leave parents with important message

Published: Mar. 7, 2016 at 7:28 PM EST
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Elkhart, Ind. -- New Monday, all four Elkhart Academy students who overdosed on the way to school have been released from the hospital.

The incident happened Thursday morning, just before 8 o'clock, when prescription drugs were passed out on the school bus.

A juvenile detective is still working on the case. Meantime, police are waiting for hospital test results before they can confirm exactly what type of medication was taken.

The students were only between the ages of 12 and 14, two girls and two boys, under the influence.

Police believe the prescription, that didn't belong to any of the kids was taken from a relative.

Once the students got to school, administrators noticed something was wrong and called 9-1-1.

"It came in as a kid that was not acting as his usual self; he was lethargic and drowsy," said Sgt. Chris Snyder, PIO, Elkhart Police Dept.

Had schools officials and authorities not acted as quickly, things could have taken a turn for the worse.

"The dangers could potentially be life threatening, you know death...and kids need to know that every medication can have potential side effects, and not all medications are benign. Even if it's Tylenol, any medication can be overdosed," said Dr. David Amrhein, Family Doctor, Beacon Medical Group.

Just last summer, two Granger teens died from overdosing on oxycodone...Nick and Jack Savage.

Dr. Amrhein says in this case, it could have been a number of medications that affected the kids.

"An allergy medication, to a blood pressure medication, to a controlled substance like a pain medication," said Dr. Amrhein.

All four Elkhart Academy (located in the Tipton Street Center) students have been released from the hospital, but this serves as a good lesson for parents everywhere.

"Parents need to be really careful with any prescription, or even over-the-counter medication for that matter that they have at home," said Dr. Amrhein.

Next to alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, amphetamines, like Adderall and prescription pain relievers, like Vicodin are two of the top most abused drugs by adolescents.

"It is unusual to see kids this young, when you're talking 7th, 8th graders potentially," said Sgt. Snyder.

If kids get their hands on pills that aren't theirs..."bad things can happen," said Sgt. Snyder.

"The doses between adults and children are different, for instance like a blood pressure medication is going to affect an adult differently than a child," said Dr. Amrhein.

"As a father, I'm going to be more cognizant of it, and as a physician."

A message to parents: Dr. Amrhein says it's extremely important you keep not only prescription, but also over-the-counter meds in a safe place.

If you have prescriptions lying around, there are several anonymous drop boxes in Michiana where you can dispose of those safely, and get them out of the house.

Elkhart community schools released a statement to us last week, but because all four kids are minors, we don't have access to their discipline statuses; however, we will continue to follow the police investigation.

Locations of pill drop boxes:
South Bend Police Department, 701 W. Sample St., South Bend Mishawaka Police Department, 200 N. Church St., Mishawaka Memorial Hospital, 615 N. Michigan St., South Bend
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