BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Four 8th grade Buffalo Public School District students were taken by ambulance to Women and Children's Hospital Wednesday after one of the students brought a drug mixture known as "Lean" to school, according to a district spokesperson.
The student who brought the mixture of over-the-counter cold medication and sleep aid to school allegedly shared it with three other students at BPS #3, the D'Youville Porter School at 255 Porter Ave.
The four students were taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital after their parents, the school's nurse and district administration were notified, according to the letter.
A school spokesperson said as of 1 p.m. Wednesday the students were in stable condition and ready to be released from the hospital within an hour.
Dr. Will Keresztes, BPS Chief of Intergovernmental Affairs, said the incident could have been much worse and illustrates a need for students and parents to be aware of the issue of abusing drugs.
"It's very important that parents remain vigilant," he said. "They need to make sure that their medications are secure."
He also said that while the district will take the appropriate disciplinary actions once the students have fully recovered with the input of their parents, the district plans to do more to address the issue.
"The most important thing is not to be judged, but to be helped," he said.
The Buffalo and Erie County Health Departments were also contacted.
"Lean" is a homemade mixture. An internet search reveals there are many ways of making it with over-the-counter drugs or prescription drugs.
The mixture is essentially cough medicine mixed soda pop and candy, such as Jolly Ranchers.
Jodie Altman with Kids Escaping Drugs said those looking to get high off the mixture want the codeine in prescription-strength cough medicine, and alcohol or an ingredient called DXM in the over-the-counter kind of medicine.
"We take for granted that it's a cough syrup," Altman said. "You and I don't want to get high off it. You and I don't want to get drunk off it.
But a 12 or 13 year old might, and that's why Altman emphasizes the importance of locking medicine cabinets.
She said another good way to prevent your kids from doing this it to find medicine alternatives that do not have codeine, alcohol, or DXM. Unfortunately, Altman said, this is nothing new.
"This has been around for awhile. It's younger kids, which means they don't have to go to a drug dealer, they can go to a drug store or supermarket," Altman said.
Most stores require the consumer to show ID when purchasing these types of medicines, and when that happens, Altman said some teens are desperate enough to shop lift.
Poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S. and drugs account for 90 percent of poisoning deaths, according to Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein.