A 17-year-old Shenendehowa High School student has been accused of injecting a classmate with heroin at school.
Daniel Lewis, of Clifton Park, was arrested this week, accused of injecting a 15-year-old student with the drug at about 11 a.m. Wednesday at the 3,200-student school in the affluent Saratoga County suburb. The drug was injected with the classmate’s consent, officials said.
Lewis was also found in possession of “heroin residue” in “multiple glassine envelopes” and several hypodermic needles, according to papers filed in Clifton Park Town Court.
Shenendehowa Central School District Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson described the event as alarming but rare during a Thursday morning news conference. But he noted that the case also provides an opportunity to talk about drug issues with students, including how destructive drugs can be and the importance of reporting such incidents.
“As a parent with two kids in the high school, I’ll be having a conversation with my kids as well,” Robinson said.
School officials began investigating after a student reported seeing a suspicious exchange of pills between two other students in the East High School’s locker room. Robinson said he could not address the current school status of the involved students, but he said such behavior can result in lengthy suspensions.
In addition to punishment, though, he said the district would also help the students.
“Clearly, any time we have a situation where a young person engages in drugs, we know that there is a need for counseling and things of that nature,” Robinson said.
State police spokesman Mark Cepiel said investigators have found heroin use to be on the rise in the region among both adults and young adults, including high schoolers. The rise is fueled in part by price, he said, with heroin being sold fairly cheaply.
The investigation into Lewis’ case is continuing, Cepiel said. Police have not yet determined where Lewis got the heroin.
Cepiel said no family court or other charges have been filed against the 15-year-old.
Footage from some of the school’s surveillance cameras was used to corroborate the initial tip, according to court papers.
Officials summoned state police as they questioned the students about the initial report, according to papers filed in court.
The 15-year-old was examined by a school nurse, Robinson said. Police said the teen was at some point taken to a hospital for evaluation.
In court papers, a school official described the 15-year-old’s demeanor as “very jittery and looking nervous” as questioning began. After the disclosure of the injection, the official saw a “pin mark” in a crease on the boy’s forearm.
The needles were allegedly found in a sleeve of Lewis’ sweatshirt, according to court papers.
Also found by school officials during a search of Lewis’ backpack were “a pill cutter, waxy paper in a mint tin, a couple of spoons [and] an empty pill vial with no prescription label,” according to court papers.
Lewis is charged with injection of a narcotic drug, a felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a hypodermic instrument, all misdemeanors.
Lewis was arraigned in Clifton Park Town Court and ordered held on $2,500 bail. He is to return to court next week. An attorney listed for him could not be reached for comment.