Oklahoma sees increase in edible THC overdose in children

TULSA, Okla. Oklahoma is seeing a huge increase in THC overdoses in children under 5.

2 The news first came to light when a social worker at a local hospital told us that they had seen three children overdose on drugs in the last month.

The Oklahoma Poison Control Center confirmed that it is seeing an increase in overdoses for THC.

Scott Schaeffer is director of the Oklahoma Drug and Toxicology Information Center. It has become all too common since 2018 for their specialists to receive calls about a child who had overdosed on THC, he said.

“Previously, we received an average of 10 or 15 calls per year among children 5 and under. Last year, 2021, we saw 211 calls coming in to us,” Schaeffer said.

Those numbers continue to rise, Schaeffer says.

“Almost a call a day where children have access to commonly eaten products, marshmallows, chips, candy.”

Schaeffer also says that children often mistake this treat for candy or other snacks.

“Children don’t know that a marshmallow is a medicine,” explains Schaeffer. 1000 mg THC, not so long ago. ”

He said large amounts of THC in the products can cause dramatic changes in the central nervous system with children becoming very anxious and their blood pressure dropping to dangerous levels.

“It can get to the point where they actually have respiratory failure. They don’t breathe enough to deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues.”

Joseph Galeano makes edible products from THC.

“The biggest reason the industry makes so many different dishes is also why there are so many different restaurants, so many different types of chips and soft drinks,” says Galeano.

Galeano says he is no stranger to the serious risks these products pose if they reach children.

He also said the Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Authority has strict guidelines for labeling.

“The industry is very strict about packaging and labeling and making sure it stands out,” says Galeano. “The big bold letters you know, this is THC infused. It has labels everywhere.”

But if children are too young to read, experts also recommend that parents put these products in locked boxes.

If a child uses a cannabis product, experts say, call the Oklahoma Drug and Toxicology Information Center at 800-222-1222 to see if medical intervention is needed.

They say parents should not be afraid to call because they are not the reporting agency.

Right now, there is a bill passing the Oklahoma legislature that aims to make medical marijuana packaging less appealing to children.

Housebill 3019 will require medical marijuana packaging to be clear and resistant to children.

The bill would also require a warning label that reads “For medical marijuana patients only” and Keep out of reach of children. Representative Kevin McDugle said he authored the bill because it is important to keep children safe.

REPLY. KEVIN MCDUGLE / OKLAHOMA(R): “We want to make sure our kids don’t get hold of THC products, adults have cards, they have to be the only ones getting the package,” Oklahoma Rep. (R) – Kevin McDugle said.

The bill is still in the House.

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