PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - More small kids in Oregon are ingesting marijuana than ever before, according to the Oregon Poison Center. According to data, when it comes to kids five and under, they often eat it unintentionally, believing it’s a normal snack.
The FOX 12 Investigators wanted to find out just how alike edibles can look to regular household snacks. The FOX 12 Investigators bought regular snacks at a local grocery store and brought them to the Portland dispensary, Shango, to compare.
“I mean, you can look at these and see how similar they are, and these are great examples,” said Shane McKee, VP of Product Development and Production at Shango.
After snapping photos of the comparisons, the FOX 12 Investigators left Shango and took to the streets. Adults in downtown Portland were asked if they could tell the difference between cannabis or candy.
Almost everyone asked got at least a couple, if not all wrong.
“Yeah, they look very similar,” said one person downtown.
But imagine being a kid and pot that looks like candy is left lying around the house.
“Plus, as adults we know just take like a couple,” said another person downtown. “You know, kids they’re like ‘oh I’m going to eat the whole freaking bag.’”
Matt Noble, a physician with the Department of Emergency Medicine at OHSU and a toxicologist at the Oregon Poison Center, doesn’t have to imagine.
“Younger kids tend to eat candy and sweets and desserts and cakes and certainly the lookalike products have been ones we’ve seen exposures to,” said Noble.
Noble said since the legalization of marijuana in Oregon, calls into the poison center relating to kids ingesting marijuana are on the rise and at alarming rates.
In 2017, he said 52 calls came into the center for kids five and under. In 2018, that rose to 71 calls.
“For every three children in that age group that were exposed in 2017, four were exposed in 2018,” Noble said.
Noble said no children have died from ingesting marijuana, but a couple have ended up in ICU and even needed a breathing tube.
“Pretty serious,” said Noble. “It can be, yeah.”
Noble recommends whether it’s marijuana or not, locking up anything kids shouldn’t get a hold of. As do the employees at Shango, selling it.
There are strict packaging rules in Oregon to help prevent kids from getting into edibles. For example, the product must leave the dispensary in some sort of child-proof packaging.
If for some reason your child does ingest marijuana, Noble recommends calling the Oregon Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
For more information, go to www.ohsu.edu/oregon-poison-center.
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