Teens disguising drugs at schools through vaping & creative containers

Posted at 11:13 AM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 17:21:05-04

There's a new smoking trend that you may not even know about. It's called "juuling" and the craze is even making it's rounds at schools.

Juul e-cigarettes look like a jump drive and they can be charged in a laptop's USB port. An expert Denver7 connected with said the ingredients inside juuls include nicotine flavorings, an anti-freeze derivative, vegetable sugars and benzoic acid. When all of the substances are put together, it creates vapor to mimic cigarette smoking and the strong addiction that comes with it. Kids as young as 11 years old are getting a hold of these and smoking them, even in the classroom.

"They vape in classrooms like crazy, they vape in bathrooms like crazy, the juul devices fit in the palm of your hand so you can just act like you're rubbing your nose and take a hit and then they blow it in their clothes so all of the smoke isn't filling the room," said Lynn Riemer, President of Act on Drugs.

Riemer travels to schools in Colorado and around the country to present and talk with students and parents about drug trends and impacts. Riemer said juuls have been a hot topic at every school she has traveled to recently.

Each juul pod contains the equivalent amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. Riemer said many kids know about them but are not aware of what is in the devices or how addicting they can be. While we are still learning about the long-term effect of juuls, Riemer said the high nicotine content has devastating effects on the adolescent brain. In severe cases, some teens are being hospitalized for nicotine poisoning.

Teenagers are also using vaping devices to do drugs.

"Now you can mix the marijuana concentrates and the marijuana oils that are distilled at 99 percent pure into these juices and they are vaping it in the classrooms and it smells like pineapple or pina colada or grape. It smells fruity and it doesn't smell like pot anymore, so this too is just a device to fly under the radar," said Riemer.

Vaping devices are illegal to everyone under 18, but underage students are still getting caught with them at school. Riemer said if there are drugs inside the vapes when schools take them, kids will be written up and suspended for possession of drug paraphernalia. They will also have to go to specific drug classes to knock down some of the suspension time. If students want to get a job in the summer or if they're applying to college, those ticks on their record may come back to hurt their chances of landing a future opportunity. 

Riemer said there has been a huge increase in 12 and 13 year olds vaping. She also cited a U.S. Surgeon General report saying e-cigarette use among high school students has increased 900 percent since 2011. Riemer said this is the biggest problem in schools facing our teens other than marijuana.

Teenagers are finding other creative ways to hide vaping devices and drugs. Riemer said be on the lookout for things around your house that you or your child didn't buy.

"There is one that looks like a flashlight and you take the flashlight and turn it into a drug pipe. So there are just ways to hide drugs they have lipstick containers that are all hollow, they have pens that are hollow that they hide things in," said Riemer. Some teens are also using hollow books and markers to secretly stash pills inside.

A Juul spokesperson released the statement below in response to the details above:

"JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to cigarettes. JUUL is not intended for anyone else. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors, and it is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL product. Our goal is to further reduce the number of minors who possess or use tobacco products, including vapor products, and to find ways to keep young people from ever trying these products. We approach this with a combination of education, enforcement, technology and partnership with others who are focused on this issue, including lawmakers, educators, community leaders and our business partners. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate and engage with parents and educators and encourage them to email us at"

A Juul spokesperson also shared some of the company's initiatives below:

· Limiting the sale of JUUL on our website to ages 21+.  JUUL’s ecommerce platform incorporates industry-leading controls to help ensure minors are not able to purchase our products on our Web site.

· Working to engage school districts across the country to deploy educational programs.

· Actively working with law enforcement and community leaders across the country.

· Deploying a secret shopper program to monitor age verification of retailers.

For more information and resources, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.