By Sarah Neubecker Pioneer Staff Writer LEROY - Pine River Middle School students got a lesson in drug abuse after three students were hospitalized last Tuesday for illness caused by ingesting prescription pills on the bus ride to school. Principal Darell Holmes was notified mid-morning by a few student who were concerned for their classmates. \u201cI\u2019m very proud of our students who came forward,\u201d Holmes said. \u201cIf they hadn\u2019t, it would have turned out a lot differently.\u201d The students in question were approached by administrators and taken to Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital after becoming ill. The students were then sent to Helen DeVos Children\u2019s hospital in Grand Rapids where they were monitored overnight before being released Wednesday. One of the students had taken two types of prescription pills from a relative who was unaware that the pills were missing, and distributed them to the other two students. Following the incident on Wednesday, Holmes scheduled an assembly to discuss the issue with students in the middle school. \u201cI wanted to create awareness of the potential dangers of taking prescription drugs,\u201d Holmes said. \u201cWe had a very negative thing that happened and we are doing everything we can to educate students that it can be a life changing decision to take (prescription drugs) that weren\u2019t prescribed to them.\u201d Holmes informed students about the incident and stressed the dangers of making similar choices. \u201c(Our staff) did a fine job with creating awareness about the issue and making good decisions,\u201d said Pine River Schools superintendent Jim Ganger. \u201cFortunately no students were (severely) hurt.\u201d Pine River Area Schools has a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program for all students in third through fifth grade. The middle school hosts speakers and programs two to three times each year to encourage students to make good decisions. The three students involved in the program had gone through the D.A.R.E. courses in elementary school. \u201cOne of the main things we talk about is prescription drugs,\u201d said Osceola County undersheriff Justin Halladay. \u201cWe tell them a drug is anything that can change the way you think or feel. Just because it doesn\u2019t say it\u2019s against the law, doesn\u2019t mean its safe.\u201d Halladay said prescription drugs may be more dangerous than illegal drugs because they are more accessible to youth. Though the students involved made poor decisions, administrators and the undersheriff agree that the students who reported the incident were the heroes of the situation. \u201cI have to give them credit. That goes to show that for every person making bad decisions, you have some who are making good ones,\u201d Halladay said. The three students have returned to the school, but will be punished according to the school\u2019s drug policy consequences which may include suspension. \u201cWe have some great students here, they just made a bad decision,\u201d Holmes said.