10 tips and precautions to help keep kids safe from synthetic marijuana

Story highlights Now is the time to report a case of synthetic marijuana. These products are dangerous and should not be readily available to teens and young adults.

To better support these efforts, here are our top ways to help keep kids safe.

So far this school year, a total of 6,229 cases of synthetic marijuana have been reported to Canadian health officials — an all-time high for the state of Ontario, where the majority of these cases originated.

Researchers at the Ontario Ministry of Health say more than 23,000 students have reported having contact with these potentially dangerous products since September.

To help protect kids, we wanted to review how health experts and educators deal with this dangerous substance and offer up some of the biggest tips and precautions to help keep kids safe. So read on to learn more.

To view all 11 of the most recent cases of synthetic marijuana in Ontario, visit the Ontario Ministry of Health website.

1. Look for products that say synthetic marijuana on the bottle

There are no chemicals used in the manufacturing of these products. While it may sound like a confusing process, there is a certain method you should follow when buying synthetic marijuana at your local drug store.

You should read the label carefully and look for words like “synthetic marijuana” or “synthetic cannabis product.”

Synthetic marijuana products sometimes will contain different variations of these terms. But if you have a sense of which items might appear on the shelf in question, you can follow that same process.

2. Look for products that aren’t labeled “for sale to minors”

Remember, these products are chemicals that have been sprayed on plants. They may be sold in different packages and stamped with various “tags.” But these products are purposefully marketed to teens and young adults and thus often contain different names than for use by adults.

Don’t buy synthetic marijuana from an adult in a child-proof packaging that doesn’t say “not for sale to minors.”

3. Don’t purchase this product from friends or other young adults

If you are unsure about a product or smell it, don’t buy it. If you see something in a school classroom, ask the instructor for a list of kids and you’ll have the opportunity to ask if they’ve ever seen this product or used it.

4. Carry the drug out of the area if you see it on sale

In a school hallway or on a street, don’t buy anything. If you see a package somewhere, ask the assistant principal or a teacher for a list of students and you’ll have the opportunity to ask them if they’ve ever seen this product.

If it sounds really tempting to go and buy something you know others have, don’t do it. You could end up accidentally consuming it.

5. Don’t share synthetic marijuana with others

You don’t know what other teens are doing with these products. Some may have been using it all year, while others may be experimenting with the product for the first time at the moment. So don’t share it.

6. Call 911 if you’re unsure of a product’s health effects

If you can’t go to a school administrator or principal and ask them about the health effects of this product, call 911 instead. Parents are trained to respond to situations involving emergency medical aid.

7. Know the signs and symptoms of a real medical emergency

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s a medical emergency and time to call 911. These symptoms include slurred speech, severe headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and severe shaking or rapid heart rate.

8. Report any symptoms to teachers or school administrators

You don’t want to bring a medical emergency to your school, so don’t do it. Go to the school nurse, talk to a teacher, or call 911.

9. Ask teachers or school administrators if they have any information about a product

If a teacher or principal can confirm with them about any product they have come across in the classroom, you’ll have the opportunity to ask these professionals for more information.

10. Report it to your school administrator or parent liaison

Lastly, if you have any concerns about a product, reach out to your school administrator or parent liaison. If there is anything else we can do to help protect kids, take advantage of all the helpful resources offered here.

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