Cleveland residents shocked by second drug incident

February 17, 2012 2:57:58 PM PST
According to the last census there are just about 8,000 people living in the city of Cleveland. Yet this small town is facing some big city problems, especially when it comes to teens and drugs.

It's not the type of attention longtime Cleveland residents say they don't want to see their town being known for. The latest incident happened Thursday. Now, some residents say some concrete changes need to be made.

At Gary's Barber Shop, longtime Cleveland resident Donny LaBud remembers what he was like in high school.

"A lot simpler; you didn't have to worry about the drug problems, maybe getting into the occasional fight," he said.

LaBud and others say they're not used to the attention the local students have generated. The latest was just Thursday, when ambulances were called to the middle school after a few students took an unknown pill.

"We snuck out to bonfires and some drank beers, but I don't know that too many kids didn't do that in high school, but I don't remember taking a bunch of drugs at school and getting sick either, though, especially not in junior high," LaBud said.

Now, the school district says it's determined that just two students took the unknown substance. One was treated at a local hospital, and the pills found have been sent for testing.

It is little comfort, though, for residents who remember the scene just two weeks ago at Cleveland High School, where more than a dozen were affected by what ended up being the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam. Four students now face charges of possession and delivery of a controlled substance.

"We have a lot of great things in Cleveland, it's unfortunate that it happened to the kids, but it's everywhere," resident Buba Crye said.

Cleveland residents we talked to say this once small sleepy town is also feeling some growing pains as more school-age children move in with no community network of support.

Barber Gary Ladner said, "There's nothing for them to hang out and just kind of be a kid without getting them in trouble, you know?"

Some community leaders are trying to work on a solution. They admit it won't happen overnight but they do know the city has some issues that they need to face.