She says she's not addicted, but a local 15-year-old Tokay High sophomore has been smoking crystal methamphetamine since she was 13.
If she has $10, she'll start looking for some crystal meth. What she and friends usually find is "cut" with fillers like salt or powdered sugar. But if they can get together $50, they can get good stuff, "and we go all out."
For 48 hours, they're "spun" - until they smoke it all. Then they crash. The after-effects last, too. Meth makes your feelings disappear; you don't care about anything, she said.
"I'm not addicted to it, but I feel an urge to get high," she said.
The girl is not alone.
Students at local high schools say drug use on campus has become routine for some teens.
At both campuses, students say their bathrooms often smell like marijuana and people are selling it, in addition to crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy.
Some 18-year-old Tokay seniors said students can "get what you want" with a few text messages and a $10 or $20 bill.
The News-Sentinel has not published the names of students interviewed in respect for a request of anonymity, and because of the delicate nature of the subject matter.
As substance abuse among young people continues, the rumors of drug-sniffing dogs, random drug testing and surveillance cameras have started up, too. Lodi High Principal Bill Atterberry says the first step in combating the problem is not introducing such programs blindly but raising parents' awareness of the issues. This week, the school is hosting a meeting for parents about drugs and what families can do about substance abuse.
In school year 2005-06, 21 students were expelled and 183 were suspended for being in possession of, selling, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Some students contend that meth as well as marijuana make people feel motivated, and that's why people smoke it in the bathrooms at school before tests. Other students mix powdered meth into energy drinks that are sold on campus.
Cocaine causes people to feel energetic as well, and students with passes to leave campus at lunch hour might snort lines of it in their cars before coming back to school.
Chelsea, a 17-year-old senior, said 1.5 grams of cocaine costs $70, which is 10 or so "lines," or "rails."
How many lines a person does "depends if you're experienced or not. One line only lasts an hour."
Juan, a 17-year-old Lodi High student, said he's seen classmates crush Vicodin or OxyContin pills and snort them. It's a technique that Lodi High Assistant Principal Heidi Reyes has noticed as well.
Alcohol doesn't seem to be as popular a substance, at least on school property, students at both campuses said.
Campus supervisors keep an eye for people sharing water or drink bottles. They notice when students are acting strangely. But they and school officials and police can't search individuals' property without a reason.
Some students at Lodi High admitted to keeping liquor in their cars, sneaking it on campus in water bottles.
Between classes, Aaron, 17, strolled through campus. The scent of alcohol mixed with sweat, and the sharp afternoon breeze. During lunch, he was drinking Hot Damn, a cinnamon flavored schnapps.
He said he only smokes marijuana and drinks alcohol.
"The other stuff can mess up your mind … Not too many of the pot smokers are stealing things, selling anything, trading things to get their money's worth," Aaron said.
He said schools can do more to curb drug use among students - by showing what drugs can to do their bodies before they even get introduced to it.
"A lot of people say marijuana is the gateway to all other drugs," Aaron said. "It's not. It's your own decision."
That may not have worked for students who started getting high before entering high school.
"If your parents tell you not to smoke marijuana, weed, but you do it and nothing bad happens, that's when you try all this," said the girl who first tried drugs at age 13.
Drug use surveyEvery two years the California Healthy Kids Survey is administered by the state Department of Education.
2004, is the latest year for which information is available. Lodi Unified surveyed seventh, ninth and 11th graders on their alcohol, tobacco and drug use.
1,452, or 63 percent, of seventh-graders were surveyed:
1,241, or 51 percent, of ninth-graders, and 2,167, or 48 percent, of 11th graders.
Students who used marijuana at least once
Grade 7: 87 students, or 6 percent
Grade 9: 285 students, or 23 percent
Grade 11: 385 students, or 37 percent.
Students who have ever been drunk or high at school
Grade 7: 3 percent, or 44 students
Grade 9: 12 percent, or 149 students
Grade 11: 20 percent, or 208 students
Students who have smoked marijuana at school
Grade 7: 2 percent, or 29 students
Grade 9: 7 percent, or 87 students
Grade 11: 8 percent, or 83 students.
Source: California Healthy Kids Survey fall 2004. See more results at http://www.wested.org/pub/docs/chks_home.html.
Drug and alcohol violationsThe state's education laws require certain discipline actions for students found to be under the influence or in possession of a controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant.
Students may be suspended for one to five days; law enforcement is notified and a meeting with a substance abuse counselor is recommended. Additional days of suspension, or expulsion, could be recommended for more serious or repeated violations.
School year 2005-06
School year 2004-05
School year 2003-04
School year 2002-03
Source: LUSD Child Welfare and Attendance.
Popular substancesTeens at high schools campuses in Lodi say the most common substances used by them and classmates include marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine and prescription painkillers.
• Ecstacy. Also known as "e", thiz, time-out, xbox and beans. Thizzing: Being high on ecstasy. The drug is a stimulant that affects brain chemicals that control mood, sexual activity, aggression and sleep. Side effects are similar to cocaine and methamphetamines - increased heart rate, teeth clenching, blurred vision and interference with the body's ability to regulate temperature. Its after-effects include depression, sleep problems and anxiety.
• Cocaine. Also known as coke or llello, pronounced or spelled like "yeyo." Extracted from leaves of the coca plant which grows in South America. It looks like a whitish and chunky material that is crushed, or cut, then snorted.
• Methamphetamines. Also known as crys, crystal, meth, ice and batu. Tweaker: A person who uses crystal. Spun: Being high on it.
A manmade stimulant that looks like small fragments of glass or shiny rock-like pebbles. It can be taken orally, smoked in a glass pipe or crushed or cut into a powder then snorted through the nose like cocaine.
Effects are similar to cocaine except it can last as long as 48 hours followed by a "crash." Users can suffer psychotic episodes, paranoia, hallucinations, violent outbursts and tics (picking at skin, incessant cleaning, teeth clenching, erratic habits).
• Marijuana. Also known as weed, pot, mary jane, ganja and bud. The buds and leaves of the cannabis plant are dried, then rolled like a cigarette (joints) or placed in a pipe and smoked. The effects are euphoria, relaxation, paranoia, redness of the eyes, dryness of the mouth and impaired motor skills.
• Hydrocodone. Used in cough suppressants and pain-relievers. It is most frequently prescribed as Vicodin (combined with acetaminophen). The DEA says hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opiate in the country.
• Oxycodone. Used for pain-relief. Prescription names include OxyContin, Percodan (combined with aspirin) and Percocet (combined with acetaminophen). OxyContin's slow-release formula can be bypassed by chewing tablets, or crushing and snorting, or mixing with liquid and injecting.
Sources: Drug Enforcement Agency, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Drug Intelligence Center, urbandictionary.com and students.
First published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007