Drug and Substance Abuse

16 middle school students hospitalized for taking Xanax

Eighth grade students in southern New Mexico were rushed to the hospital after taking Xanax Thursday morning


Two students in New Mexico are facing disciplinary action after school officials said they distributed Xanax pills that sent 16 eighth graders to the hospital on Thursday. 

A sixth grade student at Chaparral Middle School in Alamogordo told KFOX he saw one of the students who took the drug. 

 “Some kid was walking weird down the hallway and the teacher was helping him going to the principal’s office," Aiden Coyaozo told KFOX.  “I was scared kind of  'cause they were taking drugs and I knew there were drugs in my school… I’m happy that everyone  is like safe now that I know”

District officials said one student is accused of bringing the prescription pills to school, while another allegedly helped pass them out. The accused pair may also face criminal charges from the Alamogordo Police Department, which is investigating the incident.

“With any school or district you have circumstances where people bring in illegal drugs," Doyle Syling, chief of staff at Alamogordo Public Schools, told KFOX. "It’s something we always have to prepare for.” 

Syling said the district helped all the students who took the pills and continued to look for any signs of drug use throughout the day. Parents were notified and allowed to visit to check on their children.

The FDA explicitly states that the safety and effectiveness of Xanax for children younger than 18 has not been established.

According to the FDA, Xanax can help with panic and anxiety disorders. However, users can become addicted to Xanax and can experience life-threatening side effects. This includes a seizure, described by the FDA as a withdrawal symptom.

Ray Bogan is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in El Paso, Texas. Follow him on twitter: @RayBogan