The number of Prince William County, Virginia, students with a documented behavior violation for use of a prohibited substance more than doubled last year compared to before the pandemic, county officials told the school board this week.

The number of Prince William County, Virginia, students with a documented behavior violation for use of a prohibited substance more than doubled last year compared to before the pandemic, county officials told the school board this week.

In the 2022-23 school year, there were 1,800 students with a prohibited substance violation. In 2018-19, the county reported 864. It didn’t include data from the 2019-20, 2020-21 or 2021-22 school years, because of the reduced number of kids in school due to the pandemic.

The number of students documented for using electronic cigarettes increased from 303 in 2018-19 to 639 in 2022-23, according to school board documents. Marijuana possession increased from 101 to 245, respectively, and marijuana use increased from 107 to 189.

Several other school systems, including Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, have reported similar trends regarding student substance use, and in some cases opioid overdoses. A rise in opioid overdoses in Arlington Public Schools prompted school officials there to expand the availability of naloxone, the generic form of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan.

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