Drug dogs sniff at RHS
There is confirmed drug use at Robbinsville High School.
“We know some kids are using drugs. We check vehicles and we search lockers to either catch ’em or curb it,” Robbinsville school resource officer Dennis Crisp said during a traffic stop Monday at the entrance of Robbinsville Middle/High School.
How many kids are using? Law enforcement officers can’t say, they only know there is drug use at every school teenagers attend.
“It’s a whole lot bigger problem than people realize. It’s a problem because kids get their parents’ prescriptions,” Eastern Band of Cherokee K-9 Officer Erik Oswalt said. “You can slow it down, but you can’t stop it. Every year it gets worse. It’s a losing battle.”
The battle may be heating up at RHS.
“Graham County Schools has increasing concerns of illegal drug use in our county and in our high school. We appreciate the continued efforts of law enforcement to assist in eliminating this threat to our students,” assistant superintendent Robert Moody said Tuesday. “Though we have had a few confirmed incidents, we are seeing a growing trend and will work diligently to protect our students at all costs.”
The desire to slow the flow of drugs into school is why Crisp asked Oswalt and Graham County Sheriff’s Office K-9 handlers to help him check vehicles going in and out of the school parking lot.
“I requested it from them. We’re just trying to beef up our efforts here,” Crisp remarked. “We’ve had a couple of hits. About 70 seniors can come and go. Parents and others can bring in food. They could also bring in drugs.”
A parent?! “You have to keep in mind that people can make $8,000 or $9,000 in a day, day-and-a-half selling prescription pain killers,” Oswalt said. Someone is bringing drugs to RHS.
“A couple of weeks ago, there was an incident involving a student and prescription drugs,” Oswalt said. “There was also an incident a couple of months ago where a parent refused to allow a search of their child’s car. The parent had a fit, so the school suspended the student’s driving privileges for the rest of the year.”
Officers stopped between 75 and 100 drivers Monday. While one checked licenses, drug-sniffing dogs circled each vehicle. The canines did not alert on any vehicles during the checks.
What did they expect to find? “We see a lot of marijuana and prescription pills when we do checks at schools in Graham, Cherokee, Haywood and Jackson counties,” Oswalt said. “They call us quite often.”
Robbinsville High School is one of the most cooperative schools.
“Officers can only do as much as the school allows them to,” Oswalt said.
And officers may have accomplished something Monday even though they didn’t find any narcotics.
“If you can keep them guessing, maybe you can put a dent in it,” Oswalt said.
Moody believes the drug problem is best addressed by everyone working together.
“Everyone has to be vigilant to address the problem – the school, community, parents, agencies, churches, families and law enforcement. If you have any information that would assist us, use our anonymous tip line at www.grahamcountyschools.org