Officials say students sickened at San Francisco school ingested cannabis

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 05:10PM
Officials say 10 students who were sickened at James Lick Middle School in San Francisco on Tuesday had ingested cannabis.

SAN FRANCISCO - Officials say 10 students who were sickened at James Lick Middle School in San Francisco on Tuesday had ingested cannabis.

Several of the students were taken to San Francisco General for treatment. They are all expected to recover.

Officials said the students' symptoms were consistent with marijuana intoxication and a container labeled "medical cannabis" was confiscated.

It's Valentine's day, but kids at the school may hesitate before accepting any Valentine's candy after conversations they had last night with their parents.

"Not to eat anything that's not in a wrap, that's not in a Ziploc bag, to be careful because we don't know," said Xochilt Alvarez, parent.

RELATED: 10 SF students having 'adverse reactions' after ingesting unknown substance

One dad said his daughter heard the edibles came in a form attractive to kids.

"The understanding is that it was an edible thing that essentially was a candy. She described it as some kind of strips," said Mike Johnson, parent.

Parents are worried this is just a sign of the times.

"Especially with the change in the marijuana legislation I think this is just a first story in probably many that will come," said Johnson.

"I have a 20-year-old and she never heard of anything like this when she was coming to James Lick either, so it was scary," said Alvarez.

The school has not released any details on who brought the marijuana to school.

District officials said teachers will process the incident with students in age-appropriate discussions.

One day after the San Francisco Unified School District reported that ten students from Jack Lick Middle School became sick after consuming cannabis, the district decided to treat the event as a teachable moment for schools and parents.

Counselors were at the school Tuesday.

"We have a team of social workers and health professionals who were out at the school who are dealing with the specific issue at the school site," said Chris Pepper, who works for the district in the health education department.

Today we know that police are still investigating the matter, and are not treating this as a criminal investigation. A container labeled "medical cannabis" was found and confiscated. What is not known is who was prescribed the medical cannabis, the student or a family member. One parent told ABC7 what the students ate resembled candy strips.

"It being legal and much more accessible, I think this is just a first story in probably many, " said Mike Johnson who has a daughter at the school.

Students sickened at James Lick High School by cannabis
Officials say students sickened at SF school ingested cannabis

But according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, marijuana use today among middle and high school students has been unchanged since legislation there passed in 2012.

At San Francisco Unified substance abuse education begins as early as kindergarten but really ramps up in middle and high school.

According to a 2015 study done by the National Drug Early Warning System, 71 percent of San Francisco high school students have never used cannabis, which is lower than the national average of 59 percent.

"Since this case is getting so much publicity I think it's a great opportunity for teachers and families to talk to their young people about this particular subject," reiterated Pepper.

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