CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Students in middle school and high school across the North Carolina Piedmont are addicted to powerful drugs.
So much so that school resource officers said they've caught them getting high in class with their teacher in the room.
"Don't be afraid to search the room or search their backpack," said one school resource officer.
Don't think it's happening in your kids' school? Think again, say those on the front lines. Kids are getting hooked on pot, cocaine, and opioids, according to Union County resource officers.
"Our biggest issue we are seeing at the middle school level is alcohol and marijuana,' said Christy Baucom at Piedmont Middle School. "They bring them to school."
While drugs in school are nothing new, police said the problem is the type of drugs and the age at which these kids are doing them. Police say they work with them all the time to try and see if they can curb the problem before they end up here.
The numbers are startling. According to the CDC, a new report indicates teen drug overdose deaths rose 19 percent from 2014 to 2015 in the U.S. There were 772 drug overdose deaths among U.S. teens ages 15-19 in 2015.
"The heroin and things of that nature is what they try to lace the candy with," said AJ Wallace with the Union County Sheriff's Office. "The kids can be in class sucking on lollipops that they may not do on a normal basis."
The Union County Sheriff's Office wasn't able to provide specific stats on how many kids they think are doing the drugs at school but ask any counselor who works with addicted teens and they'll tell you it's an issue.
"There's been an increase in prescription pill use. That, and then they transfer to heroin use," said prevention specialist Matilene Osho. "We know that most heroin addicts start off using prescription pills."