The Drug Enforcement Administration’s St. Louis division is asking parents and local law enforcement to be on the lookout for Halloween candies that could be laced with drugs.
The St. Louis division said in an advisory Wednesday that it “has not identified any specific threats” this Halloween. But the agency also said marijuana-laced candies cheekily labeled with names like “Munchy Way, 3 Rastateers, Twixed, Keef Kat and Rasta Reese’s” were collected on Halloween last year.
“These treats can look like traditional candies, but can have harmful effects if consumed by a child,” said the agency, which also warned about meth-laced candies. “The DEA and law enforcement agencies throughout the country have seen an increase of seizures of drug-laced edibles, including but not limited to chocolates, suckers and gummies.”
The trick-or-treating warning comes after police in Dublin, Georgia, warned locals about meth pills shaped like children’s candy earlier this month, and as authorities investigate why a Galion, Ohio, 5-year-old tested positive for meth after he went trick-or-treating Sunday, WSYX reports.
But some argue the warnings about candies laced with drugs — or loaded with other hidden dangers like needles and poison — are alarmist and overblown.
“Researchers who have looked into scares about Halloween candy have found that they’re mostly hoaxes, with no evidence for the vast majority of scares,” German Lopez writes for Vox, adding that “in recent years, we’ve also seen (unfounded) concerns about marijuana-laced candy as more states have legalized pot.”
Marijuana advocates have also pushed back on the notion that weed-laced candy is likely to be passed out on kids’ trick-or-treating routes.
“Cannabis consumers are not looking to dose children with cannabis,” said Evan Nison, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of NORML, a group pushing marijuana legalization, the Associated Press reported last year. “That is not something that I’ve ever heard of anybody ever being interested in doing or wanting to do or would think is ethical.
Still, the DEA advised parents and caregivers to be on the lookout for odd smells, unusual wrapping, misspelled labels and unwrapped or unmarked goodies.
The St. Louis division also told local authorities to report any drug-laced candies and send the evidence along to the DEA for testing. Parents were told to take their kids to medical providers if they have ingested goodies laced with drugs, and also to call police.
Marijuana-laced goodies commonly include gummies, brownies and candy bars, while meth-laced candies are frequently hard candies and gummies, the agency said.
Georgia authorities, who warned of candy-shaped meth earlier in October following a drug arrest, noted that kids aren’t drug dealers’ priority.
“While it is not a custom of drug dealers to target children, officers of the department took the initiative to send out a public awareness announcement in order to educate our community as to the existence of this type of drug and its resemblance to children’s candy,” Dublin police said in a Facebook post.
The department’s earlier Halloween meth warning had been met with skepticism from some Facebook users.
“Any proof that anyone has any intention of passing these out to kids?” one commenter asked on the post, which was shared hundreds of times. “This is going viral, guys.”
There have been instances of meth ending up in children’s trick-or-treating hauls: A Wisconsin family discovered a small bag of white powder in a child’s candy last year, and the substance was meth, McClatchy reported.