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  1. Alfa
    Doctors Warn Kids Not To Ingest Seeds From Devil'S Weed

    PENTICTON - Three teens have been sent to hospital this month -- two
    to intensive care -- after experimenting with a deadly hallucinogenic
    plant.

    Dr. Marian Hutcheon, the Interior Health Authority's medical officer
    in Penticton, said yesterday the teens were admitted to Penticton
    Regional Hospital after ingesting datura stramonium -- also known as
    jimson weed -- to get high.

    "Two of the school-aged children required admission into the intensive
    care unit," she said.

    Datura, a large spiky plant that blooms into a white flower, is also
    known as angel trumpet, devil's weed, moonflower and thorn apple.

    It grows wild throughout B.C., and is gaining infamy among kids for
    its hallucinogenic effect.

    But among doctors, the plant is loathed for its ability to make those
    who eat it or smoke it very ill with symptoms such as confusion,
    agitation, anxiety, psychosis and seizures.

    "The kids see it as a drug to get high on, but the concern is there.
    It can make you very sick and even kill you," said Hutcheon. "Seeds
    are thought to be the most poisonous part," but all of the plant is
    toxic.

    A 13-year-old girl was in hospital yesterday recovering from her
    experiment with the plant. Her father, Dave Houlden, told BCTV News on
    Global that he had to rush the Grade 8 KVR Middle School student to
    hospital on Sunday when she became paranoid and delusional after
    eating datura seeds.

    "I didn't know if she would have brain damage, especially when they
    don't talk to you too much because they don't have the answers," he
    said.

    "[Overdose], that's what she did. Death was the next thing down the
    road."

    Dave Brunelle, KVR Middle School's principal, said he's speaking with
    other principals in the area about arranging assemblies to make the
    poisonings "a teaching moment," and educate kids to stay away from the
    plant.

    "This is very new to us. It's never happened before," he said. "I'm
    sure the students are speaking among themselves, and maybe the
    teachers are talking about it a little bit in the classrooms."

    Penticton Mayor David Perry said he will direct his staff to look into
    the possibility of cutting the tops off the plants, as Kamloops did in
    2001 after 10 teens were sent to hospital after eating datura seeds.

    "Certainly we now will want to look at a strategy to minimize the
    exposure to these plants," he said. "We need to focus on getting the
    word out to these kids."

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