Berrien Co. Middle School student recovering post hospitalization after using THC-laced vape

Berrien Co. middle schooler discharged after being hospitalized by THC vape
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 8:28 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - A child was hospitalized Wednesday after using a vape laced with THC.

The incident happened at Berrien County Middle School. The child has since been discharged from the hospital.

The minimum age to buy and smoke vape products in Georgia is 21. Still, many young kids are getting their hands on vape devices.

Melissa Odelius is a teacher in Colquitt County. She’s seen students try to flush vapes down the toilet to hide them from teachers.

“Throw them out in the toilets and they stop them up every single day,” Odelius said.

Odelius is also a parent of an elementary-aged student. She’s been using vapes to quit her smoking addiction. She also says stopping children from vaping is a tough battle to fight.

“She knows what it can cause. I know she sees me vape a lot. Knowing the dangers will make her not want to do it, I hope’” Odelius said.

Tinisha Loud-Kitchens is a parent and a former high school teacher in the Dougherty County School System. She believes parents are responsible for educating and monitoring their children. She also says marketing to kids needs to stop.

“It’s very tough to get kids not to try things, especially when they see peers doing it. We have to do a better job of mentoring our young people,” Loud-Kitchens said.

Marketing vapes to kids is illegal. A vape store owner wanting to remain nameless said it gets frustrating being in the business. They believe vape shops get a bad reputation in the media because they’re often blamed for selling to minors.

According to the FDA’s tobacco compliance database, in 2022 in Georgia, there were 2,499 inspection reports. 17 violations were of stores selling to minors. Three of those 17 cases were of a vape shop selling a vape product to a minor.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office said it’s an ongoing issue at the middle and high schools in the county.

WALB has submitted an open records request to learn more about past incidents within the school system. Sheriff Ray Paulk of Berrien County said that this case is still being investigated and that they could pursue charges against whoever provided the child with the drug-laced vape.