Why the DEA is warning parents about kids 'JUULING' at school
SAN ANTONIO - If you are a parent, pay close attention, there are vaping devices small enough for school kids are taking them to school and using them without being seen.
In the week's 'On The Frontline' the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tells Fox San Antonio kids are altering the device to get high at school.
"They're easy to hide, they look like a flash drive but they're a a vaping device, the most popular called a JUUL pen, which is normally filled with liquid nicotine," DEA Agent Wendell Campbell said. "But kids are misusing it, filling it with marijuana extract to get a secret high many times while in school."
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects.
According to the DEA, kids are now getting their hands on this oil, which goes by the names 'dab' or 'honey' and putting it in vaping devices.
"It's also very potent and it's also used a lot with dabbing with the e-cigarettes and they take just a little bit of it, place it in the e-cigarettes and use it that way and it has a very quick affect, a very potent effect because of the potency of the THC and how concentrated it is," Campbell said.
The first thing parents need to know is the term used by kids, JUUL. Although there are several kinds of vapes that look like the most popular, this brand accounts for half of the e-cigarette market, according to the DEA.
From that the term 'juuling,' used as a verb, is being used by teens when they say they have put THC in their vaping device.
"From a law enforcement perspective, one, it's hard to identify," Campbell said. "Number two, from a parent perspective, is it's also hard to identify" say's Campbell.
Hard to identify because usually they come in flavors like fruits and other sweet scents the DEA says targets kids.
Although the FDA made it illegal to sell these vaping devices to kids under 18, kids are using them at school as Fox San Antonio found out through open records request to some area school districts.
At North East Independent School District, the highest numbers of vaping devices confiscated in the last two school years were at Churchill high school, 119, Johnson high school 111 and Reagan high school 115.
At SAISD two vaping devices were found during the last school year with cannabis oil and at Southside one student was caught last year.
NISD did not give us any numbers, however, this was their response:
"More generally, our district policy deems vaping/juuling a violation of our Student Code of Conduct. The following line from our Code of Conduct specifically states the violation as: (j) engages in tobacco or nicotine related violations or possess/uses smoking devices. Campus administrators would address the violation at the campus level - specifically by confiscating any smoking device to be returned to a parent/guardian and by possibly issuing a disciplinary consequence. If a smoking device was determined to have been used for/with any illegal substance, then the Northside ISD Police Department (in most cases the campus officer) would address the violation as per applicable laws."
The warning from the DEA is for parents to be vigilant because this is not your everyday high.
"It's not normal marijuana, it's not marijuana-normal THC content, it's a completely different drug," Campbell told us. "That kind of THC content has devastating effects."
The JUUL company responded to our story with this:
JUUL is intended for current adult smokers only. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL. Underage use of JUUL and any other vaping products is completely unacceptable to us and is directly opposed to our mission of eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. We stand committed to working with those who want to keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people."