Maryland

Maryland School Security Guards Briefly Hospitalized After Drug Exposure

Two students admitted to smoking an "unknown drug" inside a bathroom at a Montgomery County high school, school officials say

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Two security guards at a high school in Montgomery County, Maryland, were recently hospitalized after breathing in smoke from an unknown drug inside a school bathroom, officials say.

The guards were checking out an odor coming from a bathroom at Northwood High School in Silver Spring on Feb. 17, when they "experienced adverse reactions," according to a letter school officials sent to parents about the incident.

Montgomery County police said the guards experienced “odor induced vomiting."

According to the school's letter, the guards found two students and visible smoke in the bathroom. The students admitted to "smoking an unknown drug in the bathroom" and are facing punishment, school officials said.

"It just smelled like, you know, feces … and like something that burned," said Richardo Morales, a junior at the high school.

The area around the bathroom was closed off for the rest of the day.

"They had to bring in fans to air it out. So, while they were doing that, we had to relocate," Morales said.

The guards have since recovered and did not experience any longterm effects to their health, the school said.

Five students in the county have died from overdoses since the beginning of the school year, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Health and Human Services told NBC Washington. (An earlier version of this story cited statistics from Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando, who said they had all happened in January. The HHS spokesperson refuted that claim.)

A couple of weeks before the incident at Northwood, Jawando spoke at the school about the surge in overdoses.

He said the Northwood incident is a reminder that drug use can impact an entire school.

"It’s not just you. We saw in this case where this was our security officers, who were there to try to make sure everyone in the community is safe. They got injured by the use of these illicit substances, and so we take it very seriously," Jawando said.

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