DEVIL’S SEED: Teens hospitalized after ingesting poisonous plant

DEVIL’S SEED: Teens hospitalized after ingesting poisonous plant

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Public health officials and police in eastern Ontario are warning the public about a deadly plant that has sent several teens to the emergency room in the past few weeks.

And unlike other deadly toxins people take to get high this one grows wildly and locally.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) issued a community safety alert on Sept. 29 after a Russell County teen was hospitalized for ingesting Datura stramonium, also known as ‘Jimsonweed or Devil’s Seed,’ earlier in the month at a school.

OPP say the teen was spotted at a campus after school hours by faculty acting strangely and not feeling well. As police investigated the case, he was taken to the hospital.

On Sept. 26, provincial police confirmed the accused was intoxicated by the notorious plant. He has been charged with administering a noxious thing with intent – endanger life or cause bodily harm. The teen is scheduled to appear in L’Orignal Youth Court on October 29.

“Young people are not aware of the serious risk they’re taking,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health of the EOHU.

“Some of them may think of jimsonweed as a substitute for other drugs. Unfortunately, this could cost them their lives.”

According to the EOHU, all parts of the plant are poisonous and contain a powerful hypnotic sedative as well as a high level of nitrate.

Symptoms usually occur within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion and may continue for 24 to 48 hours or even longer.

Jimsonweed is described as odorous with pointed green leaves sprouts trumpet-shaped white or purple flowers, as well as a prickly pod filled with dozens of seeds.

Common effects include high fever, racing heart rate, blurry vision, hallucinations and delusions. More severely, the plant can also cause seizures and comas.

Roumeliotis urges parents and caregivers to speak with their children regarding the dangers posed by jimsonweed in order to prevent any further victims.

In 2007, over a dozen teens in the Cornwall area were hospitalizes after ingesting the hallucinogenic plant.

Search for Jimsonweed on to learn more.

For additional information, contact the Addiction Services of the Cornwall Community Hospital at 613-936-9236 or toll free at 1 800 272-1937.

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