Palmerton Area School District plans to address the illegal use of drugs by high school students.

The matter came to light during a meeting of the school board's Curriculum, Athletics, Personnel and Policy Committee on Tuesday.

Committee member Susan Debski said she received a call from a parent who is very concerned about the issue of drugs in the school system.

Debski said the parent told her that several members of the Class of 2009 graduation class have had to receive care for their drug issues.

One option that was suggested is to have drug dogs come in and sniff the students lockers.

Superintendent Carol Boyce said she and high school Principal Kathy Egan have already discussed the alternative.

"We will do on our end what we can with security," Boyce said. "The lockers are school district property; they are our possession."

Boyce said several random searches of lockers have been conducted this year at the high school.

Bill Congdon, associate principal/athletic director, said the searches were done in instances where administrators were concerned about the "physical well-being" of the students.

Resident Kim Long said her daughter was among those to graduate from the Class of 2009 who has had to be placed in rehab for her use of drugs.

Long told the committee the use of drugs is rampant at the high school, and can be distributed from one student to another in virtually no time at all.

"You will not find it in their locker," Long said. "They keep it on them; they pass it through the hall."

Long said heroin, marijuana, vicodin, and percocet are examples of drugs the students pass through the halls, the bathrooms, and even their purses.

Unfortunately, Boyce said drug usage is "not unique to Palmerton."

Boyce said the district will be in contact with local law enforcement, the Carbon County Drug Task Force, and the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug & Alcohol Counsel.