Oldham County Schools issue warning amid uptick in student vaping hospitalizations

Oldham County Schools are on high alert after a recent uptick in students using THC-based vaping devices.

The district sent a letter home to parents on Friday, citing “serious concerns.”

District leaders tell WLKY three high school students were hospitalized in recent weeks with severe reactions to vapes they believed contained cannabis derivatives.

According to Alex Carll, assistant professor and e-cigarette researcher at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, vaping can have negative impacts on the lungs and heart, as well as vascular and mental health.

Those same dangers prompted Oldham County Schools to issue a warning to parents.

In the letter, the district writes, “While not all cases have resulted in hospitalization, there have been instances of significant paranoia and hallucinations that deviate from typical marijuana effects.”

This means, according to Carll, that what is actually in the vapes students are using is uncertain.

“We don’t really know what’s being added to a lot of e-liquids, especially when it comes to THC products that tend to have a black market,” said Carll.

He said that is especially concerning if kids and teens are passing vaping devices around and sharing them with other students.

District leaders said vaping sensors in school buildings alerted them to the increased use of THC vaping among students. They were installed in Oldham County Schools in 2022 and can differentiate between tobacco and THC products.

The letter says any student caught bringing illegal drugs onto campus will face consequences, including a mandatory, 9-day stay at Buckner Alternative. Outside of school, they could face criminal charges, including a Class D felony.

The district is encouraging parents to have an open and honest conversation with their kids about the harmful effects of drug use and the lasting repercussions.