Upstate Poison Center sees rise in accidental cannabis poisonings
The Upstate Poison Center has released its statistics for 2022. The top poisonings for all age groups and children, continue to be exposure to analgesics, household cleaning products and personal care products like hand sanitizers. There is one worrying trend though, especially among children, accidental ingestion of cannabis products.
The big worry for Center Director Michelle Caliva are the edibles, things like gummies, cookies and lollipops, that all just look like regular sweets to a child.
"We had a little child get into a cookie, a chocolate chip cookie,” Caliva said. “And it was an outrageous amount this child was exposed to. Because the directions are you are supposed to eat a quarter or an eighth of it. And he ate the whole thing. But why wouldn’t he, it was a chocolate chip cookie."
The number of edible-related calls to the 54-county center was 364 in 2021, and jumped to almost 700 cases last year. There were already nearly 100 in January of this year, so Caliva expects it to jump over 1,000 in 2023. And when the Poison Center gets calls about children getting into these edibles, experts often refer them to the emergency room.
"We send little ones into the hospital all the time,” Caliva said. “They’re lethargic, they’re altered, they’re confused, sometimes they have seizures. I mean we don’t keep any child home who’s gotten into it."
With the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State, Caliva expects numbers to continue to increase. She advises anyone with children to treat cannabis products like medication.
"And put it up and away and out of reach,” Caliva said. “And I think best yet, put it in a lockbox. I believe everyone should have a lock box in their home, all medications go in a lock box."
Experts at the Poison Center are available 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.