Arizona officials concerned by number of accidental marijuana intakes among children

Arizona officials promote safe cannabis use
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:58 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Officials in Arizona are teaming up to combat a growing issue in the state, the number of accidental marijuana intakes, especially among children.

The Arizona Dispensaries Association and Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center are teaming up to bring awareness to the problem.

Ann Torrez, the executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association, stresses the importance of buying regulated marijuana products from an accredited dispensary to help bring these numbers down.

“Our audience is not children, our audience is not teenagers,” Torrez said. “Our audiences are patients who use cannabis for medicinal reasons and consumers who use it for adult use.”

According to new data, there were a total of 739 cases of cannabis-related incidents throughout the state of Arizona just last year, with over half involving children.

“Nobody wants to have their own child affected by this,” Torrez said. “Nobody wants to have somebody else’s child affected negatively by this.”

The data shows of the 394 pediatric cases, 60% required a hospital visit.

“What can be safely used by an adult can be problematic for children,” said Dr. Steve Dudley of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. “We have seen this story time and time again with the states that legalized cannabis.”

This is why experts recommend keeping marijuana products locked away, in secure and out-of-reach places. As for those kids who are older, having conversations about the consequences could help stop the problem.

“Kids are going to be kids and they are going to get into things as we see with everything else when there are kids at home,” Dudley said.

However, when you do buy from a certified dispensary experts say your weed will be regulated. In addition, parents can be ensured labeling and packaging will not be targeted toward kids.

“If I have that product, there are QR codes attached to them. There are lab test results that are available,” Torrez said. “If my child ends up in the hospital, we can help the poison control and hospital get access to those lab tests to see what is in that product to really know what the doctor needs to treat for.”

Even though 2022 wasn’t the worst year Arizona has seen. Experts say the numbers are still high for what they say is 100% preventable.

“We understand we have to take a proactive role in protecting who is having access to the products,” Torrez said.

If your child does happen to accidentally get into your THC goods, professionals say it’s always important to remember that calling Arizona poison will not get you in any trouble.

“The last thing we want is someone to not call because they think they are going to get in trouble,” Dudley said. “Then what could be a very small intervention needed to make a child feel better, turn into a very bad outcome, because we didn’t give them the help we needed to give in the right amount of time.”

Dudley says they are here to help the community with the mission of keeping you and your kids safe.

If you have any questions regarding safe practices or your child happens to accidentally ingest marijuana, call 1-800-222-1222.