Upperclassmen at Hereford High School have, on more than a few occasions, purchased e-cigarettes and other illegal substances for underclassmen at the school, the student newspaper at the high school in Parkton, Maryland, is reporting. “There’s not a day that goes by where you can’t find someone under the influence of a substance in school,” writes Emma Charles in the Hereford Harbinger.
The illegal activity at Hereford seems to be more of a “social thing,” Ms Charles writes. She quotes an unnamed sophomore boy: “I get pods, bud, alcohol, etc., from older kids. It’s great. It gives you a chance to talk to them and ask about their day. It’s just nice.”
With one anonymous senior boy saying he and the woman who works as a cashier—at an anonymous liquor store, of course—are “BFFs, because [he goes] there so much,” it seems there are a number of known hotspots in northern Baltimore County where the employees just don’t care about the age of the purchaser or the subsequent passing on of the product.
The venture is a little profitable for the upperclassmen, one saying he typically charges about $20 to buy $16 pods for freshmen and sophomores. Many of the users have become addicted to the drugs as much as to the social interactions. Not only is purchasing tobacco, alcohol, or e-cigarettes for underage classmates illegal, but if classmates who engage in this trade were true friends, they wouldn’t profit from any activity that was detrimental to their friends’ health.
Even though we know that diacetyl causes popcorn lung, this chemical is found in many e-cigarette flavors https://t.co/w3G3WJQMdM
— American Lung Assoc. (@LungAssociation) July 8, 2016
But Ms Charles has a much dimmer outlook on the possibility that the situation with underage drug use, which is illegal, will get better in Parkton:
Now I know nothing is going to stop this trade. It’s a part of our culture no matter how much authorities wish it weren’t. But just look out for yourself and your friends, because not everything is as pretty as it seems when it comes to drugs. Things can take a sharp turn in a split second.
Maryland isn’t the only state that prohibits this kind of trade. Florida, for example, prohibits anyone from providing any tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. It’s a crime there for anyone to sell, deliver, trade, provide, or give tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to underage people. The crime is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The penalties go up for subsequent convictions of this crime.