STUART, Fla. — Authorities say an increased awareness of vaping devices at schools has led to a slight drop in cases. However, officials are still worried about their proliferation and potency.
“They are out there and any parent who thinks their child has not interacted with this at some level, they are wrong. Their child has seen it,” said Martin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ryan Grimsdale.
Grimsdale and Frank Frangella, the director of safety and security for the Martin County School District, outlined what parents should be looking for.
“They are using it for other illicit narcotics —that ups the ante for all of us from a school perspective, from a citizen perspective,” said Grimsdale.
In January, three students in Martin County became sick after vaping an unknown substance.
“We’re very worried, lots calls to the sheriff’s office to schools … they were in a panic,” said Frangella.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said about 100 citations have been written for students who have brought vape pens to school this school year.
Law enforcement says education and prevention are key to stopping the growing problem.
Parents should be aware on how to spot these devices since they are easily concealable, looking like USB drives and inhalers.
(The vaping devices are) very easily concealable," said Martin County Sheriff Office's Sgt. Joseph Collazo. "It doesn’t take much to tamper with and put your own substance in as well."
The best advice out there is to be nosy, go through your child's belongings and search for any questionable devices.