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EARLY YEARS: Roanoke Valley mom shares story of her 2-year-old accidentally ingesting Delta-8 form of THC

Prevention Council warning parents about cannabis being sold locally in packages that resemble children’s cereal
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:03 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Amina Serir didn’t know if her two-year-old daughter, Maya, would ever recover after she ate what looked like Apple Jacks cereal, containing high levels of Delta-8.

“All of a sudden, she comes to me, ‘my face is burning,’” says Serir.

Serir says the small package of cereal had ended up in a basket of snacks the family had brought home from an area pool.

As the moments passed, her symptoms grew more severe. That’s when Serir says she and her husband checked the cereal to see if it was expired.

“He’s reading and he says this product contains cannabis, and I’m like, ‘What? What do you mean?’”

Serir says Maya then fell asleep and her lips were turning blue. They rushed her to the ER, where she was placed on oxygen.

30 hours later, she finally woke up. But she was a long way from being back to normal.

“She would eat, but she can’t talk. She wouldn’t answer. She would just stare, if she’s even awake. She can’t even open her eyes for more than 30 seconds,” says Serir. “I started to worry, like is she ever going to walk again?”

Days later, Maya also suffered from hallucinations, thinking there were bugs in her bed.

“She comes in screaming, completely hysterical, 30 minutes later- Mom, bugs, spiders! I pick her up, but it wasn’t enough. I turned on all of the lights in the house, and she was terrified, looking right and left and shaking” says Serir.

Maya is doing better now, and Serir says she’s back to her normal activities.

It’s situations like these that the Prevention Council of Roanoke is working to prevent, by educating parents.

“What we know is that none of it is regulated. So that, if you purchased this, for anxiety or for whatever reason, you have no idea what’s in this. And we’re now learning that there are a lot of very terrible, terrible, very scary chemicals that get mixed,” says Nancy Hans, Executive Director of the Prevention Council of Roanoke.

Delta-8 THC products aren’t FDA-regulated.

Some packages contain 500 milligrams of THC. And they’re being sold in convenience stores, as well CBD and tobacco shops across the state.

Carrie Pratt is a mom and a pharmaceutical rep. She says a psychiatrist and rescue squad worker she calls on told her about the effects Delta-8 is having on youth.

“He said that they see a lot of kids coming through the emergency room who are just completely out of their minds, and the parents have no idea what’s going on. They have no idea if they’ve taken anything. And as it turns out, a lot of them had been using Delta-8,” says Pratt.

Serir is still closely monitoring Maya’s recovery.

Her plea to other parents-- even if you think you know what your child is consuming-- double check.

“I think some kind of regulation should be around this. It should not be attracting children. It’s not meant for children. And my experience really taught me the hard way. I’m really careful now reading all the labels and paying attention,” says Serir.

There is a lot of information about Delta-8 online. Click here for details abut the dangers.

19 states, including Colorado, are banning, restricting or regulating Delta-8. Click here to read more about their efforts.

There is also a drug Take Back Day happening Saturday, October 23 from 10 until 2 at various locations in Roanoke.

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