Another Teen Tragedy

9 years 6 months 1 week ago July 07, 2007 Jul 7, 2007 Saturday, July 07 2007 Saturday, July 07, 2007 7:32:34 AM CDT in News
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Ashland police were called to investigate the death of 18 year old Ben Smith on Wednesday. Officers are treating his death as a possible accidental drug overdose, which would make it the second in Ashland in two years

"I don't know how to explain Ben. It's just Ben, ya know?" said Lucus Welch, an Ashland High senior.

Welch had known Ben Smith his whole life, just like so many other kids in the small community. Police suspect Smith died from mixing alcohol with a prescription drug patch, normally used by terminally ill cancer patients. It was a drug not normally found on the streets.

"This is something that would make you high for literally three days straight," said Ashland Police Chief Scott Robbins. "We are running into a lot of kids not wanting to be a snitch and that's really frustrating us."

"They think they can just search our cars because they have our license plate numbers; I don't know where they think they can do that, but that's what they've done and that's why nobody wants to deal with the police because they do that all the time," said Welch.

Robbins is getting desperate.

"I try to make the appeal that somebody else might die if you don't help me get this stuff off the streets," he said. "Tell me where this stuff came from."

Welch agrees that his peers need to wisen up, but they also want the police to trust them. Although Smith's death is the second drug overdose in Ashland in two years, four other Ashland teenagers have died in tragic circumstances during the same period.

The school district recently enacted compulsory random drug testing for students with parking passes and those in extra curricular activities.

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