A graduate faces a , followed by .
Some say this is a symptom of a larger issue in the where parents and administrators turn a blind eye to kids in the throes of addiction.
School officials acknowledge the problem and say they are doing everything they can to reduce and eliminate illicit substances and substance abuse.
Who is right?
According to Wilton High School Principal Robert O’Donnell, drug use “comes in trends.”
“I think there’s drug use here,” he said. “There’s drug use in every high school, but we want to minimize it and eradicate it as much as possible.”
The comments come as the town faces questions about whether and to what extent drug use from contributed to the.
Friends and acquaintances have described Ramsey as a heavy drug user since his first years at Wilton High School, though he never .
According to former Wilton High School students, including drug addicts now in recovery, problems of substance abuse at the Danbury Road facility are more common than are widely acknowledged.
Asked whether she had seen cocaine or crack in Wilton, 2010 graduate Maddie Budge said “cocaine, yes; crack, not so much.”
“I was drinking and smoking pot as a freshman,” Budge said. “I was bored.”
Data from a 2011 survey administered by PositiveDirections.org and the Wilton Task Force to Reduce Underage Drinking found that 7 percent of those polled in grades 11-12 had experimented with pain medications, 3 percent with hallucinogens and 3 percent with tranquilizers. A survey from 2007 from the same two agencies found a spike in drug use among seniors who took prescription medications—such as oxycotin and Ritalin—at 9.4 percent.
The Ramsey case is not isolated as far as speculation on drug use goes.
In February, Pawel Sywak, a Wilton High School graduate, died at the University of Connecticut at age 19 in an incident which appeared . His then-girlfriend, also a Wilton resident, faces numerous charges including possession of heroin and reckless endangerment, according to police reports.
According to Colleen Fawcett, coordinator of Wilton Youth Service, an agency which serves town youth and families, illicit drug use is “very low” among Wilton youth.
“However, any single case of youth using any of these illicit drugs is cause for great concern,” Fawcett said in an email.
Michael Avedis, who had been kicked out of Wilton High School as a sophomore in 2005 because of drugs and was arrested in within 500 feet of the school, said he started smoking crack at age 16.
“I screwed around with heroin and pretty much everything else,” Avedis said.
Avedis added that part of what enables Wilton teens to experiment with drugs is money from their parents.
One former Wilton High School student who is under the age of 18 and spoke to Patch on condition of anonymity, said a stint in rehab ultimately resulted from using drugs bought with allowance money.
Lee Boffey, who has a son in , said that wealth provides access to drugs.
“The problem with these towns is that there’s too much money,” Boffey said. “You can’t buy drugs if you don’t have money. If my son comes to me at ten years old asking [for money], I want to know what it’s for and get a receipt.”