An Oxford High School student was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital Tuesday after he apparently had an adverse reaction to an illegal, psychedelic drug.
Parents of students told Oxford Patch they heard a 17-year-old high school student had smoked marijuana and ingested Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, an illegal recreational drug more commonly known as acid or by its acronym, LSD.
The Oxford Ambulance Association was called to the high school just before 1:45 p.m. for a student who was acting extremely odd. Jerry Schwab, ambulance association director, confirmed Tuesday that emergency medical technicians were called to the school for a “drug related incident” and that a patient was taken to Yale-New Haven for what appeared to be ingestion of a hallucinogen. He would not comment further, citing patient confidentiality laws.
Since the patient’s identity was unknown, his condition could not be confirmed on Tuesday.
LSD is a synthetic (man-made) drug that has been abused for its hallucinogenic properties since the 1960s, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. If consumed in large does, LSD produces delusions and visual hallucinations that distort the user’s sense of time and identity, the DEA’s website states.
Tuesday’s incident comes on the heels of a letter Schwab wrote last week to First Selectman George Temple in which Schwab explains why he believes there is a substance abuse problem amongst teenagers in the community.
The three-paragraph letter reads:
“I am writing this letter to express my concern over underage drinking and drug use in this community. Over the course of the past year, we have responded to multiple calls that involved underage drinking and drug use. There have been two arrests at Oxford High School in the past few months related to possession and use of drugs. I am very concerned over the activities that youth in our community are involved in.
In think our community needs to take this issue very seriously and come up with creative ways of helping our youth to make good decisions. I have been contacted by a parent in the community and given copies of Facebook screen shots along with a YouTube video produced by a student at Oxford High School. The video and pictures clearly illustrates [sic] the seriousness of this situation. Both the video and pictures are clearly posted for the world to see. (Editor’s Note: The video has since been removed from YouTube.)
I think a very big problem is that Oxford High School no longer has a dedicated youth officer in the building during operation. I am requesting that you reinstate Officer (Dave) Ives to be assigned solely to the Oxford School District to help address these issues. I am also requesting that you appoint either a committee or call a meeting of Town leaders to begin addressing these issues.”
(Note: Paul Guillet, Board of Education chairwoman, is carbon copied on the letter. And Ives is a certified school resource officer who no longer spends as much time in the public schools as he once did.)
As first selectman, Temple has the authority to oversee the local resident trooper program. But Temple said last week that he doesn’t second-guess state police Sgt. Dan Semosky - Oxford’s resident trooper sergeant in charge of day-to-day police operations - on personnel matters.
“He is the professional, I am not,” Temple said about Semosky. “I also feel that the so-called disciplinary problems at Oxford High School are overstated.”
When contacted about the possible LSD issue on Tuesday evening, Temple at first said he did not know about the incident that occurred at the high school earlier in the day. After speaking with Semosky, Temple said nothing is confirmed and that any discussion about LSD is premature at this point.
“I can tell you that putting a cop in the school is going to make no difference with something like this,” said Temple, who is also a defense attorney. “This is an educational issue and an issue within the home. All these kids have had the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, and the town has fulfilled its obligation in terms of education of substance abuse. I can tell you these incidents are not commonplace at Oxford High School.”
This year, the town’s children will have a shortened D.A.R.E. program. The course, which is typically taught to fifth-grade students, began in the school system this week. Only half of that program is being funded this year, meaning pupils will get just six weeks of D.A.R.E., as opposed to the full 12, and will not graduate as D.A.R.E. certified.
Semosky said Tuesday that he cannot comment about medical calls, which is what Tuesday’s call to the high school is considered at this point.
In terms of drug and alcohol issues amongst young people within the community, Semosky said he encourages anyone with information about such incidents to call his office. The number is 203.888.4353.
“We are going to investigate anything that comes in,” he said.
Oxford High School Principal Frank Savo did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday evening.