NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Dr. Marla Levine, a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, is alerting parents to the dangerous trend involving kids and the drug THC.
“I’m concerned,” Levine says, “Two years ago we may have seen a one-off case of accidental ingestion, now we’re seeing this much more frequently.”
She explains that this is particularly a problem in children ages 5 and younger who mistake the colorful candies for harmless gummies.
“When they’re marketed to adults, the intent is to have a little bite here a little bit there to get a little bit of a high, and that’s it,” Levine says. “When children get into these medications, they’re consuming the whole thing and that results in a toxic dose.”
These children show up to the emergency room poisoned from the high dosage of THC causing a variety of complications.
“These children come in with complete alteration of their level of consciousness.” She continues, “These children will come in with profuse vomiting some will come in with seizures.”
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In the most extreme cases, these young patients must be admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit.
“There have been several cases of children who have had such a profound depression in their breathing drive that we as providers have to intubate those children,” explains Levine.
It’s a problem parents need to take seriously, but the good news, is it is avoidable.
She says to store all drugs out of reach of children, and don’t be afraid to ask others to do the same.
“In the same way you want to make sure that alcohol is not sitting out in a home where your child is going to play with their friends,” Levine says, “I think it’s perfectly appropriate to inquire whether or not there are edibles in the home and ensure they are safely stored out of reach of children.”
If you’re child needs immediate attention due to a possible poisoning call 911.
If you have questions you can call the Tennessee Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The hotline is available 24 hours a day seven days a week year round.