Children hospitalised after eating ‘weed sweeties’

October 03, 2023
The THC-laced candies that were sold to children, making them ill.
The THC-laced candies that were sold to children, making them ill.

Five students of the Ocho Rios Primary School remained hospitalised up to Monday night in stable but critical condition after eating sweets that contained THC, a major psychoactive component in cannabis.

More than 60 students from grades three to six were rushed to the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital. It is claimed that an unfamiliar vendor turned up at the school gate on Monday morning selling what a regular vendor described as "gummy weed", clearly marked as containing THC.

Health Minister Christopher Tufton and Education Minister Fayval Williams rushed to the hospital to check with the affected. Tufton told reporters about 6:15 p.m. that, "There are approximately nine children that are still here, five are likely to be admitted because of dehydration, drowsiness, and dizziness and may have to be kept here overnight for observation and treatment. The majority have been sent home having been examined and to some extent treated."

Tufton added: "A quick examination of the packaging suggests that it is marijuana extract-infused edible package and looks as if it's being marketed to children. This product was not given any approval to be imported into the country; the Government does not support, through the approval process, any marijuana edible products." Tufton said the product will be tested to see the extent of the THC.

"But for now, the most important thing is to protect the lives of the youngsters and to ensure there is no lasting impact on them psychologically or otherwise." Tufton urged persons selling the product for commercial gain to desist.

The vendor turned up at the school during the morning shift, which caters to the older students. Grade four teacher Nicole Clarke-Goodfellow said it was during the 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. lunch break, that an announcement was made for students who had bought the product to take them to the office.

"As a teacher and a mother as well, I have to be very thoughtful of other children out there and for the person who decided to sell these things....I'm trying to find out if they understand what the product is, how dangerous it is," she said.

The school's principal Suzette Barnes-Wilson praised the hospital staff for their professional handling of the situation and also the school's bus driver, several parents and the police who helped in transporting the children to the hospital.

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