By Margie Wuebker
Four Celina High School students were taken to area hospitals Friday after having an adverse reaction from taking a prescription medication given to them by a fellow student.
The 14-year-old student who brought the drug to school now faces a felony charge and remains on house arrest.
Celina Police officers and Celina Fire Department paramedics responded to the school at 1:53 p.m. on reports of several students becoming ill.
Two students -- a 16-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy -- were taken by ambulance to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys. Both were treated and later released.
School officials also learned two 15-year-old girls had gone home earlier in the day after complaining of illness. They sought treatment that evening and also were released. Classroom teachers reportedly noticed the students acting strangely and sent them to the school nurse with symptoms of dizziness, disorientation to surroundings and abnormal pupil reaction. She recommended calling emergency medical personnel.
An investigation initiated by school officials during the squad run revealed the students had ingested some type of medication. Celina Police Chief Dave Slusser described the drugs as controlled substances available only by prescription.
Slusser declined to comment on the type of drugs involved or whether the 14-year-old boy gave or sold them to the others. It is believed they ingested anywhere from one to three pills based on interviews with staff and students, he said.
"We learned a doctor originally prescribed the medication for a member of his family," Slusser added.
The boy was taken into custody at the high school and then transported to Mercer County Juvenile Court for a detention hearing. He spent the weekend at the West Central Ohio Juvenile Detention Center in Troy.
He appeared before Judge Mary Pat Zitter on Monday morning after the filing of a fifth-degree felony charge of dispensing unapproved drugs. Slusser said additional charges may be filed upon completion of the ongoing investigation.
Celina Superintendent Matt Miller told The Daily Standard no other students have demonstrated similar symptoms in the wake of the Friday incident. He declined to comment on whether any of the five students have previous drug-related problems or identify their respective grade levels.
"Everything at this point indicates students ingested the pills here at school based on information obtained from building administrators," he added.
All five face disciplinary hearings at school.
"Punishment will be decided on an individual basis that is part of the due process," the superintendent said. "The code of conduct clearly states the maximum is a 10-day, out-of-school suspension with a recommendation for expulsion."
Police officials plan to meet with school personnel to discuss measures aimed at preventing further drug-related problems. The school reportedly offers drug prevention information in health-related classes.
"We'll probably meet later this week or even next week," Slusser said. "Right now trying to finish up the case at hand is our first priority."