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Drinking homemade brew in school sends four students to hospital

Four Buffalo students escaped injury Wednesday when they were caught in school sipping a homemade concoction of soda mixed with an over-the-counter cold medication and a sleep aid.

But they found themselves in big trouble.

An eighth grade student at the D'Youville Porter Campus School on Porter Avenue brought the potentially dangerous mixture – known as "Lean" – to school, and then shared it with three other students, the Buffalo Public School District said.

A teacher spotted the soda bottle in the hallway, became suspicious and alerted administrators.

After school officials realized what was in the beverage, the school nurse was informed and called an ambulance, according to the school district.

While the students didn't become ill, they were taken to Women & Children's Hospital to be examined and were later released, a district spokeswoman said.

The students now face disciplinary action.

The school sent home a letter to parents on Wednesday warning them that the homemade mixture is referred to as "Lean" and that the instructions on how to make it can be found on numerous Internet sites.

"Please make your children aware that the misuse of any drug, prescription or over-the-counter, is potentially dangerous and/or deadly, and that they should never drink from an opened bottle that is not their own," the letter read. "Please also make sure that medications in your home are secured from possible misuse."

The school also notified Buffalo police and the Erie County Health Department.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related mortality in the United States, with more than 40,000 deaths annually," said Dr. Gale Burstein, the Erie County health commissioner, in the letter.

"Drugs account for 90 percent of poisoning deaths, and the number of deaths from drug poisoning has increased substantially in recent years," the health commissioner said. "Parents are the strongest force to protect their children from drug abuse. The best solution for drug abuse is to talk to our kids, and talk early.”

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