Parents, teachers, and physicians are urged to closely inspect children’s Halloween candy, soda, and snack items this year to ensure that children do not accidentally ingest a concentrated drug that could be in these products -- a health hazard that was discovered last year, according to the Narcotics Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
THC Discovered in Candy, Cookies, Cereal Snacks and Soda
In recent months, sheriff's detectives have seized thousands of illicit edible products in the form of candies, cookies, cereal snacks, and bottled soda, all containing varying amounts of concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive substance found in the marijuana plant, the Sheriff's Department reported.
These items, packaged to resemble licensed commercial candy and snacks, are being produced locally in clandestine labs and residential kitchens, according sheriff's detectives. The items are packaged to be attractive to children and teens. Some items have no label to warn the consumer of their content, and many that are labeled do not contain a reasonable indication of drug content, recommended dosage, or instructions for use. Because their makers intend to remain anonymous, no contact information is listed.
Some of the processes used to extract and concentrate the THC from the plant material for the manufacture of these items include the use of chemical solvents, such as liquid butane, the Sheriff's Department reported.
The Sheriff's Narcotics Bureau is concerned that the methods used to extract the drug may also extract any pesticide or fertilizer residue as well, carrying those potentially toxic chemicals into the items. Testing is currently being pursued on these items to better determine this possibility.
Detectives also found that the places in which these items were manufactured were highly unsanitary, bringing the potential of other health hazards to users as well. The Sheriff’s Department said it intends to seek and prosecute similar crimes in the Los Angeles area.
It's Halloween, Please Be Safe
Kids throughout the nation will be out on the hunt tonight, going door-to-door in search for Halloween treats. Make sure to read the following tips issued by the Sheriff's Department for both kids and parents to help ensure this night of ghouls and goblins is fun-filled and safe for everyone involved.
Halloween Safety Tips for Children
- Never, ever go into a strangers house or even ring their door for treats unless your parents are with you and say that it's okay. Always make sure that your mom or dad is within sight when you go out trick-or-treating.
- Be careful when you cross a street. Make sure to look in both directions and make sure that there are no cars coming. If you have a little brother or sister with you, take their hand and help them get across the street, too. If the street has a stop light, wait until the cross walk light tells you that it's okay to cross now, but still check before you cross, look both ways.
- If you are an older kid or young teen, and going out with friends, make sure that your parents know where you are going and who you are going with. This may seem like a pain but they are your parents and they love you. They just want you to be safe.
- If you can drive and are taking a bunch of friends to a party, make sure that you have enough gas to get there. You don't want to run out on a dark street, all alone, like a bad horror movie.
- If you parents give you a curfew, be home when they say. It builds trust between you and them and they are doing it for your own safety. If you are going to be late, call them and let them know.
- Vandalism is never cool! Throwing eggs at cars and houses is not cool. Someone has to clean it up and it could be you, if you get caught. You can also be arrested and punished as a juvenile. So, don't think that it's fun only if you can get away with it. Think about how you would feel if someone did that to your house and how bad it would make you feel.
- Hurting animals is never acceptable behavior! Some people use Halloween as an excuse to hurt cats and that is just wrong! Not only is it illegal in most places to hurt or torture animals and punishable by law, you should never hurt a helpless living thing.
- Have fun on Halloween but keep it safe, have some good, clean fun and your parents will trust you for many Halloweens to come! Showing them how responsible you can be will give you a feeling of pride and make them see just how adult you really are.
Halloween Tips to Help Adults Keep Their Kids Safe
- As bad as it sounds, this is just a fact of life now. Get on the internet and check your local state website for sex offenders. Almost every state has one, just do a search for your state sex offender site. Look up your zip code and it should have a list of registered offenders in your area that includes street addresses. Make sure that your kids stay away from these houses!
- Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren't going with them. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home. Make sure that they know not to deviate from the planned route so that you always know where they will be.
- Trick-or-treating isn't what it used to be. In most cities it's not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to make sure that an adult is going with them. If you can't take them yourself, see if another parent or two can.
- Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that it's fire proof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind, make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.
- Know what other activities a child may be attending, such as parties, school or mall functions. If they are going to be at a friend’s home, get the phone number and make sure that you've met the parents.
- Make sure you set a time that your kids should be home by. Make sure they know how important it is for them to be home on time or to call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.
- Kids will be kids. Explain to kids of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem funny but they need to know the other side of the coin as well, that clean up and damages can ruin Halloween for everyone. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they've made.
- Some sick people find Halloween a great night to hurt cats. Explain to your kids that animal cruelty of any kind is not acceptable. Kids may already know this on their own but stress the point that it's not acceptable behavior. Make sure that they know that harming animals is not only morally wrong but punishable by law and will not be tolerated.
- Serve your kids a filling meal before trick or treating and they won't be as tempted to eat any candy before they bring it home for you to check. Check your local grocery store or craft store for Halloween cook books full of tasty treats on a horror theme for both kids and adults.
- Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on. Make sure that costumes won't get in the way when they are walking, which could cause them to trip.
- Teach your kids about not getting into strangers cars or talking to strangers, no matter what the person says to them. Explain to them as simply as you can that some adults are bad and want to hurt children, that they should never go into a house that they don't know, get into a car or go anywhere with a stranger. Also, tell them what to do should this happen, to scream as loud as they can to draw attention and to run away as fast as they can to someplace safe.
- Be sure to show your children know how to cross a street properly. They should always look both ways before crossing the street and should only cross at corners or crosswalks. Make sure that if you have more than one child, they know to take the hand of the younger child when they cross a street.
-- MarieSam Sanchez contributed to this report.