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