E-cigarettes are now at the center of a new trend, putting Valley kids in danger. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office is battling a brand new crime inside classrooms. Several Clovis students have been caught smoking marijuana oil out of electronic cigarettes.
The problem is many e-cigarettes don't look like cigarettes, but instead pens or pencils that kids are expected to have in the classroom. It is against the law to sell e-cigarettes to minors, but somehow kids are getting their hands on them and they're now using them to high.
The devices have become more and more discreet. E-cigarettes are now disguised in colorful designs. They've become undetectable and dangerous.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says, "This gets passed around at a school, they don't know what's in it. You never know what's in it so it's a scary prospect."
According to Sheriff Mims, teens are replacing nicotine formula with concentrated marijuana, in wax or liquid form. Once the substance is vaporized, there's hardly a smell.
"So a young person could be in a school with one of these that looks like a crayon or a pencil or a pen and could be smoking marijuana and the teacher would never know the difference," says Sheriff Mims.
The problem came to light recently after at least one Clovis student was caught with liquid weed inside a classroom.
John Avila with the Fresno County Narcotics unit says, "Scary to us because of the different things kids can utilize this for. They can insert heroin into the cartridges and smoke heroin."
Parent Kristine Vonhurst says, "I think it's horrible. I don't how the children can get their hands on them."
Regardless, the trend is hitting the Valley and it's happening inside schools. Sheriff Mims says teachers and parents now need to know what to look for.
"I'm totally aware and my eyes are open, because I thought it was a pen," says Vonhurst.
Sheriff Mims tells says she will be meeting with all school superintendents in Fresno County next month, and she'll be alerting them about this latest trend and what to look for.