Oct 16, 2015 2:56 PM

Pelham High School hit by heroin epidemic; Police search for drugs Friday


PELHAM - Students and teachers at Pelham High School were evacuated early Friday morning as police and K-9s swarmed the building.

The evacuation and search were intended to send a message to students. The police department working with school administration to search for drugs. The number of drug and heroin related incidents is on the rise among high school students and the town is cracking down.

If you think the heroin epidemic hasn’t infiltrated your kids' schools, police told NH1 News, you’re wrong.

Officers were inside the halls of Pelham High looking for pot, prescription pills and heroin.

“We’ve seen a huge rise in overdoses and a huge rise in heroin usage. It’s pretty much an epidemic at this rate. Its starting somewhere so we have to assume it’s starting with this age group and getting progressively worse from there,” said Sgt. Mike Pickles.

During Friday’s search, police did not find any trace of drugs.

Does that mean heroin is not a problem in the school system? NH1 News asked students, but not many were willing to talk about hard drugs on camera.

One student told us, “mostly pot- that’s about it.”

When we asked if there was anything more serious than pot in the hallways, the student said no.

“Not really no. I mean there are a few kids here and there,” said Calvin Higginbottom.

Pelham parents had a different take.

“It starts with prescription pain meds and then it’s a very slippery slope down to heroin. We keep nothing in the house stronger than Tylenol,” said Heather Ford, a concerned parent.

Officers and parents are on to something -- both agreed the problem starts in your medicine cabinet.

“A huge rise in kids and the community using pills and unfortunately it is leading to heroin addiction and heroin usage,” said Pickles.

“It really does start much younger than you think. You can say from personal experience, ‘oh when I was that age I would never think about getting my hands on something like that’ but it’s out there and you can’t ignore it,” said Brenna Stapp, a mother and doctor in Manchester.

Pelham is just one of the southern N.H. towns along what is called the "heroin highway". Police said this won’t be the last time they search the high school and urge parents to participate in drug take-back programs to keep prescription drugs away from kids.


--  Dealing with the Disease of Addiction? Click here for help --

More from NH1.com

NH1 News Debates
NH1 News Replay

NH1 on Twitter

NH1 SkyView Cameras

NH1 on Facebook

Check out NH1 News Rail Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome