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Upstate New York Poison Center getting more calls about kids consuming marijuana edibles

Cannabis Infused Gummies in Sour Watermelon. (Sarah Stierch/Flickr)
Cannabis Infused Gummies in Sour Watermelon. (Sarah Stierch/Flickr)

WRVO - The number of young children getting into marijuana edibles is on the rise in upstate New York, and experts are warning families to keep a lid on any gummies, cookies, or other cannabis-containing food products.

In 2019, the Upstate New York Poison Center got 10 calls about children under the age of five getting into marijuana edibles that contain THC. Poison Center Medical Director Dr. Vince Calleo said they’ve gotten over 60 already this year, in the 54 county upstate region.

“That’s a pretty substantial increase in a relatively short period of time, and makes us concerned we’re going to continue to see these numbers increase," Calleo said.

And he expects these calls to the center are only the tip of the iceberg, with a lot more cases out there that the Poison Center doesn’t hear about.

"There are times a family may not feel comfortable calling the poison center, or the child may go to an emergency department, or the physician feels they are able to care for them without calling the poison center to ask for advice, and in those cases, we don’t have numbers," Calleo said.

The rise in the numbers coincides with the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State, and Calleo said other states with legalized marijuana have also seen this trend.

Often edible THC products look like candy or sweets and especially for kids under the age of five, eating a few gummies can make a child very sick. Most calls for young children require a trip to the emergency room, where a doctor can monitor symptoms that can include trouble breathing and coma. Calleo urges anyone who suspects an overdose to call the Poison Center hotline, and get these items out of areas kids can find them.

“Remember to treat any of these THC products as a dangerous medication," Calleo said. "So what you want to do is keep these products out of sight and out of reach of children."

To learn more visit https://www.upstate.edu/poison/ or watch the following video created by the poison center.


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