Drug sniffing dogs search high school for drugs

Toni Yates reports from Lacey Township
December 11, 2013 2:46:59 PM PST
There's a rather dramatic crackdown on drugs at a high school in New Jersey.

Students and parents arrived at Lacey High School to a show of police force.

"I was a little frightened, because I didn't know what was going on," said Denise Berens, a parent.

The students were put on lockdown in classrooms, while drug sniffing dogs walked the lockers along the corridors.

"The dogs are trained to smell openings. If they give us a positive indication, we let the prosecutor know," said Sgt. James Reilly, Toms River Police Department.

Why are they doing this? 104 people in Ocean County this year have overdosed on heroine. That's way up from 2012.

"Last year we had 53, we're going to more than double and that totally unacceptable," said Joseph Coronato, Ocean County Prosecutor.

Many of those overdoses were in the age range of 20 to 28. So they're targeting teens to prevent abuse from even beginning, in a region where a heroine has become a drug of choice.

"Unfortunately heroine on the East Coast is pure and cheap and that's a deadly combination," Coronato said.

This show is part of an ongoing focus on drug prevention in the county, which will likely begin random drug testing in its middle and high schools by January, if it passes the next board meeting.

"I feel pretty good about it. We're committed to a drug free environment, so we're going to do whatever it takes," said Vanessa Clark, the Acting Superintendent.

Parents may have been surprised by the surprise search, but many are not, when it comes to the problem.

"There are a lot of issues with heroine and whatever they can do to get it away from our kids, I'm for it," said Lisa Corletta, a parent.

The county is also asking the state legislature to beef up is prosecution against drug dealers for more severe penalties.