The chairman of the school board in North Bay and West Nipissing is concerned about students using vaporizers to inhale opioids and other drugs.

Near North District School Board chair David Thompson said its happening on school property and he's calling for regulations regarding vaping, after a troubling issue came to the school board's attention.

“Kids were misusing vapor pipes,” said Thompson.

“They were crushing (up) OxyContin and marijuana juice. A side effect is they are sharing their vapor pipe and taking the filter off and now they're exposing themselves to hepatitis.”

Thompson said the shocking discovery caused the director of education to change suspension guidelines, so now students will be suspended for vaping on school property.

The board chair said he’s heard from other school boards around the province and they are also seeing a similar problem in their areas. 

So, he’s lobbying different levels of government for help and Thompson hopes the government can better regulate stores that sell vaporizers.

“When they do have new laws for vaping, and next year marijuana, that it's included and awareness is going to be part of the new laws,” he said.

Local health unit officials are also shocked to hear vaporizers are being used to inhale drugs. 

“I think it's very concerning, because it is a powerful medication and even when used correctly it can have some very strong effects,” said Marlene Campsall, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit program manager

“One of the side effects is depressing the respiratory system.”

Thompson said he's urging parents to have an honest conversation with their kids to make sure they aren't taking part in this dangerous activity; and to get help if they are.