BETHLEHEM Bethlehem police arrested a teen on drug charges after three Bethlehem Central High School students apparently overdosed at the school and were hospitalized.
Ashanti J. McCormick, 16, of Delaware Avenue, Delmar, is accused of selling methadone to the three students. Police said at approximately 1:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, the Bethlehem police school resource officer at the high school was contacted because two students in the health office appeared to be under the influence of drugs and possibly overdosing. A third student was located in a classroom, police said. All three were taken to Albany Medical Center.
Police said an investigation led them to McCormick, who was arrested Wed. Nov. 23. He was charged with the felonies of criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, as well as the misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned in Bethlehem Town Court and remanded to the Albany County jail in lieu of $20,000 bail, and scheduled to reappear in Town Court on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
McCormick was one of five teens arrested during the shortened holiday week. Police said one Bethlehem student was arrested for possession of methadone and three others were charged with possession of marijuana. Police were also able to identify four students who purchased methadone and contacted their families.
Methadone is an opioid most commonly used to treat patients withdrawing from an opiate dependency, such as a heroin addiction.
“This is another example of the partnership between our school resource officer and the high school staff,” said Bethlehem Police Lieutenant Thomas Heffernan. “We’ll continue to work closely with the district to find ways to spread the word and get information out.”
High School Principal Charles Abba sent a letter home to parents on Wednesday making mention of “an increase of inappropriate behavior” at the school, including increased discipline referrals for disrespectful behavior and incidents of graffiti in the boys bathrooms. Abba specifically mentioned the possession and use of marijuana and controlled substances.