4 New Jersey students sent to hospital after ingesting marijuana gummies

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Friday, February 16, 2024
4 Pennsauken, New Jersey students sent to hospital after ingesting marijuana gummies
4 Pennsauken, New Jersey students sent to hospital after ingesting marijuana gummies

PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Valentine's Day at Phifer Middle School in Pennsauken ended with a trip to the hospital for a few students.

"My daughter says she saw ambulances and stretchers," said parent Madeline Mayo.

The superintendent says one student brought gummies that contained marijuana from home and shared them with friends - either before school or at school.

Staff noticed four students seemed lethargic and glassy-eyed and sent them to the nurse.

From there the nurse saw the students were slow to respond and they sent them directly to the hospital, which is what we were supposed to do.

The students are expected to be fine, but superintendent Dr. Ronnie Tarchichi now wants to increase security measures at the middle school.

"We're going to have to check students at the middle school now for any type of candy that's not in a candy wrapper," said Tarchichi.

School officials don't know exactly where the gummies came from.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in New Jersey for adults 21 and over, and accessible at state-licensed dispensaries.

Tarchichi wants parents to be careful if they are purchasing cannabis products.

"If parents do have that in their house, it should be in a secure location and students should not have access to it," said Tarchichi.

State regulations don't allow children in dispensaries without a parent or guardian, and advertisements cannot target those under 21.

Dr. Jim Bailey from the Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine says using marijuana as an adolescent definitely raises concerns.

"Cannabis can affect the developing areas of the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus and the amygdala, all of which control executive functioning, cognition, memory," said Bailey.

Pennsauken Police are investigating but say they are waiting for lab results to verify what the students ingested.

The superintendent says any student caught bringing drugs to school will face suspension.

Grandparent Patrick Lynch said he spoke to his granddaughter about what happened - and how to handle questionable substances.

"Don't take nothing from nobody," he said. "Especially at school. Because you never know."

ALSO READ | New high school in Queens will prepare students for careers in health care

Sonia Rincon has the story.


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