Utah’s hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors were recently alerted to keep marijuana intoxication at the forefront of their minds when children who are disoriented or generally out of it are brought into emergency rooms, says the Deseret News. Accidentally ingesting marijuana-infused candy, cookies, brownies or other sweet treats has supposedly become more widespread since Colorado legalized the manufacturing of such products for commercial consumption, according to a warning issued by the Utah Hospital Association. But Salt Lake family lawyers say the evidence to support that claim just isn’t there.
In Colorado last year, eight children were hospitalized because of accidental marijuana consumption; now that pot is legal, the numbers have risen to nine pediatric hospitalizations this year so far. It’s certainly important for doctors to be able to recognize signs of intoxications in children for a myriad of reasons, Salt Lake City family lawyers say, not least of which is the potential for harm to the child. Additionally, when the possibility isn’t in the forefront of the clinician’s mind, sometimes expensive and extensive tests are run to determine the nature of the presenting concerns, when a simple urine screen could alert staff to the presence of accidentally ingested THC.
Being aware of the possibility of child pot intoxication is one thing, creating a scare across the medical industry is another, say Salt Lake City family lawyers. The Utah Poison Control Center reported “the center hadn’t seen much of an uptick in calls about accidental marijuana ingestions.” Utah Department of Public Safety Capt. Tyler Kotter has also reported that “troopers had not observed a noticeable increase in traffic from Utah’s neighbor,” contradicting some of the fear-based rumors and anecdotal stories about where the weed is coming from and how far it’s going. While marijuana edibles are discovered daily by Utah state troopers, Kotter reports “no significant change has occurred since Colorado’s law was altered, and more marijuana traffic comes into the state on I-80 from northern California.”
There’s also the question of parental role in accidental ingestion cases say Salt Lake City family lawyers like Cory Hundley. Where did the child find or obtain the substance, and what kind of investigation would be launched against the family depends on a number of factors including the child’s age and family report. Such uncertainty is creating yet another facet to the Utah culture of fear around marijuana products—if their child finds a cookie on the playground, will the family be torn apart for parental negligence?
For now, though, an increase in accidental ingestions and overdoses is being kept at bay, though some officials anticipate that more will surface as the year goes on, meaning Salt Lake family lawyers like Hundley may be seeing more cases of parents involved in family services or with criminal charges whose kids have to be hospitalized for marijuana intoxication. Reports for numbers of cases, both in highway confiscations and in hospital cases should be available by the end of the year to determine rates of increase.