Gilbert and Mesa school officials are handling the recent sales of hundreds of Soma pills by students with a mix of information and discipline.
"We’re not having a massive, search-every-locker sort of thing going on," said Joe O’Reilly, spokesman for the Mesa Unified School District.
Eight students from Gilbert and Mesa high schools could face felony charges stemming from the distribution and possession of 2,900 Soma pills purchased in Mexico by two teenage girls. Police recovered many of the pills, but 1,100 are unaccounted for.
A letter is being sent to parents of students at Mountain View and Westwood, where some of the Soma was sold, O’Reilly said.
Mountain View students caught with Soma received 10 days suspension and could receive other discipline, O’Reilly said. Officials are investigating the involvement of Westwood students, he said.
Gilbert Unified School District spokeswoman Dianne Bowers said the rash of Soma abuse among students was frustrating.
"It’s scary to think that kids think that because it is a prescription drug it’s something that can’t harm them," Bowers said.
Bowers said the minimum discipline for selling or possessing drugs at school was 10 days suspension. The board could transfer students to another school on the first offense, refer them to rehabilitation or expel them.
Health officials said they haven’t seen a dramatic increase in Soma overdoses.
"I don’t think kids are going to get addicted from taking one," said Dr. Michelle Ruha, with Banner Poison Control Center in Phoenix. "But if they are using it frequently, it can be very dangerous if you stop using it once you are addicted. You can have seizures and become very anxious."