Uptick in kids consuming marijuana prompts PSA

Cannabis in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This new PSA comes just weeks after recreational use of cannabis was legalized and as Connecticut doctors are seeing several cases of children ingesting cannabis.

Since the law took effect, DCF has been investigated 6 reports of children ingesting a substance 5 of the six involved cannabis. In all cases, officials say the kids are doing ok.

“We have seen a surge in the number of patients that are presenting with signs of cannabinoid or marijuana toxicity,” said Dr. Michele McKee, Division Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine for Connecticut Children’s Hospital.

This week, the surge prompted the Commissioner of the State Department of Children and Families to launch a new public service announcement.

“Legal substances such as marijuana and alcohol and of course illegal drugs away from their reach,” said Vanessa Dorantes, Commissioner for DCF.

Since the law took effect, DCF has investigated 6 reports of children ingesting a substance five of the six involved cannabis. In all cases, officials say the kids are doing ok.

Dr. Michelle McKee runs the emergency department at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

“Since the law has changed, We’ve seen incremental increases in the children presenting. It’s not that drastic to be clear,” said Dr. McKee. “The fact of the matter is we live near states where it’s been legalized before ours was legalized, so they’ve had access.”

In most cases, children will show up in ERs with what doctors call ‘altered mental status’. Cases of higher ingestion can present as excessive vomiting and urinary retention.

While marijuana may be legalized, Dr. McKee says the side effects in kids are worrisome and not just little ones, but also in teens who may turn to marijuana to quell depression and anxiety — or those with underlying conditions like asthma.

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