Deadly cannabis and synthetic-laced jellies are posing a serious threat to children, an addiction counsellor warned yesterday.
Sinister crooks have packaged the cannabis sweets to look almost identical to known brands and two young boys have been treated in a Dublin hospital after it is feared they consumed them.
The bright luminous packets look appealing to kids but can contain a highly dangerous 500mg dose of the psychoactive chemical THC.
Michael Guerin, of the Cuan Mhuire addiction centre in Limerick, said: “We’ve heard on a number of occasions there have been seizures of these cannabis-infused and synthetic cannabis-infused
jelly sweets in the past.
“And service users tell us they have come across them on a regular basis.”
Two boys, aged three and four, in the Coolock area of Dublin were taken to Temple Street Children’s Hospital on Tuesday night after consuming substances feared to be cannabis jellies earlier this week.
Gardai have not made any arrests, but a person who is not related to the youngsters is helping officers with their enquiries.
Mr Guerin said: “We would be concerned about drugs like cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids being put into things that would be very attractive to children.
“Because children, if they come in contact with things like sweets, will obviously reach for them and take them instinctively.
“And unfortunately, and sadly, the downside of it was these two children got ill over the last day or two.”
The addiction expert added he was particularly concerned about the synthetic products.
He told RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland: “The reports we are receiving back from people we treat are that they tell us when they abused synthetic cannabis one of the main attractions for using it is it’s cheaper than naturally grown cannabis.”
And he highlighted the dangers they posed to the user’s health, adding: “The effects on their psyche and the after-affects in terms of their mood and so on are very profound.
“So we would advise anybody under no circumstances touch any of these synthetic products because there is also the danger that they could be adulterated with something that is quite dangerous.”
Just three weeks ago, gardai urged parents to be aware of cannabis sweets after officers in Meath seized a sizable quantity of the illegal confectionery.
Mr Guerin added: “Our experience hasn’t been good.
“Generally speaking clients that come to us that have been dependent on cannabis itself, or are dependent on it as part of a number of other problems, generally report that their experience wasn’t a good one.
“And they rate it up there in terms of any other drug regarding the effects it has on their mental health following prolonged heavy abuse.”
Meanwhile, an alarming report last week revealed cannabis is doing
major damage to the mental health of youngsters with related hospital
admissions climbing by 300%.
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Experts at the College of Psychiatrists issued an urgent warning that cannabis is “the gravest threat” to teenagers and pointed out it can contribute to psychosis, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.