Poison Center sees spike in young children exposed to pot

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dr. Frank LoVecchio, who is the co-director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, says these young children are most likely mistakenly eating the drug because it is often purchased in a candy form. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dr. Frank LoVecchio, who is the co-director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, says these young children are most likely mistakenly eating the drug because it is often purchased in a candy form. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
During 2016, the center received 16 calls concerning children ages 5 and younger who were exposed to marijuana. So far in 2017, the center has received 33 calls for the same age range, and there are four months left in the year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) During 2016, the center received 16 calls concerning children ages 5 and younger who were exposed to marijuana. So far in 2017, the center has received 33 calls for the same age range, and there are four months left in the year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Banner Poison and Drug Information Center is on track to field triple the number of calls regarding young children exposed to marijuana that it received last year.

During 2016, the center received 16 calls concerning children ages 5 and younger who were exposed to marijuana. So far in 2017, the center has received 33 calls for the same age range, and there are four months left in the year.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio, who is the co-director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, says these young children are most likely mistakenly eating the drug because it is often purchased in a candy form.

"You might have something that looks like brownies. chocolate chip cookies, even ice cream," said LoVecchio.

The center is not aware of any fatalities here in the Valley as a result of young children consuming marijuana, but consumption can cause serious health concerns.

"Kids would come in and they would be in a very deep coma," said LoVecchio, describing children who are brought to the emergency room.

LoVecchio recommends that anyone who purchases medicinal marijuana treat it like a prescription drug.

"Would you keep a drug, a painkiller close to your child? Of course not. So you have to approach this the exact same way. Keep it above their reach in a childproof container," said LoVecchio.

You can call the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center 24 hours a day at 800-222-1222. (Tap the phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.)

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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