No drugs on syringe found at dance |

No drugs on syringe found at dance

John Colson

Testing of a hypodermic syringe found at an Aspen High School dance recently came back negative for “illegal drugs,” according to school and police officials.

But Snowmass Police Chief Art Smythe said there was “not enough sample” of material in the syringe for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to test for “pathogens” such as bacteria or viruses.

As a result, at least one student who thought she might have been stuck with the needle may still have to undergo testing for possible infection, her father said Tuesday.

The father said he is sure his daughter was telling the truth about being pricked by a needle, but school and police officials have expressed doubts that the incident really happened.

“She definitely had a needle [stuck into her back],” the father said. “You could see the puncture … it was there a week later.” He said he took his daughter, who is in the ninth grade, to the Aspen Community Health office. A nurse there verified that the girl had suffered a puncture wound by a needle of considerable size, he said.

Still, the father said, he is not overly concerned since the syringe came back negative for any alarming substances.

“My take on it is this,” he said, “it’s a great lesson.”

He said the incident should serve to alert parents that such things can happen to kids, although he said they happen more frequently in urban areas. He said he is using the incident as an instructive lesson for when his children go off to college, so they will be prepared to steer clear of situations that might be dangerous.

The test results apparently bring to a close a momentary scare in the wake of reports that two students thought they might have been pricked with the needle during the Aspen High School homecoming dance on Oct. 7.

The syringe was found at 10:15 p.m. in a sink in the ladies’ room at the Bedford Ballroom facility, located in the old Snowmass Theater building below the Snowmass Village Mall, which was the site of the dance.

Police and parents were notified, but a subsequent investigation by school officials determined that the syringe belonged to a high school student who is diabetic and had used it to inject herself with insulin.

Smythe said his department checked the syringe for fingerprints to determine if someone else might have picked it up after it was used, but no “usable” prints were found.

He said the case file on the incident is not closed, and that his department will continue to work with school officials on any new developments.

And AHS Principal Kendall Evans said that, as far as the school is concerned, the matter is over and will not lead to any changes in school policies.

“If we do anything, it’d just be [instigating] an awareness among our students that these things do happen,” he said.

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