Connecticut doctor emphasizes importance of prevention, education for kids

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There are growing calls for action to prevent kids from accessing and eating marijuana edibles.

They come after a recent incident where five students at Bishop Woods School in New Haven got sick after eating them. News 8 is told they are doing OK, as police continue to investigate how one student got his hands on the edibles.

Maria Ciarleglio, a North Branford resident, is concerned her nieces and nephews will get their hands on a candy that may just contain marijuana.

“It’s scary, you know, it looks just like regular food,” Ciarleglio said.

Dr. Deepa Camenga, an associate professor of emergency medicine in pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, said these edibles can look like cookies, candy or gummies, filled with colors that children could easily put into their mouths.

“Some of the edible products have a lot of characteristics which are appealing to children,” Camenga said.

Camenga is already seeing the issue locally, months before recreational marijuana will become widely available in the state.

“There is a perception that they’re safe but in terms of children, we are not aware of any safe amount of use,” Camenga said.

The incident highlights an increasing trend nationwide.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the most common overdose incidents among children involve these edibles. In the first nine months of 2020, 80 percent of calls connected to these edibles to Poison Control were for pediatric exposure.

Camenga said now is the time to start working on prevention and education. If you have any forms of cannabis at home, lock it up.

She said parents need to begin talking to their kids at a young age.

“Parents just need to be careful. If they have children, they shouldn’t be leaving that out available for their kids to get ahold of it,” Ciarleglio said.

If your child may have taken an edible, they could be disoriented, dizzy, lacking alertness and vomiting. Even if you do not know what is wrong, Camenga urges you to call Poison Control.

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