Police in Georgia recently confiscated drugs that were disguised as candy, which they fear might hit the streets in the weeks leading up to Halloween. A suspect ran from the scene of a hit and run accident, and when police caught up to him and arrested him he was found to have in his possession cocaine, marijuana, cannabis lollipops, and pills in the shape of Hello Kitty, Homer Simpson, and the Minions from Despicable Me. The pills and lollipops could easily be mistaken for candy, especially since they’re brightly colored. Police likened the appearance of the pills to sweet and sour candy. Small children are likely to ingest them, believing that they really are just candy. Teens, who might be a little more savvy when it comes to recognizing drugs, could believe that they are less dangerous based on their appearance.

Hysteria about drug-laced Halloween candy has popped up before, and while it’s not a widespread problem, it’s something to be aware of. A few years ago, a story made the rounds on social media about a new type of MDMA that was designed to appeal to children by looking like candy. MDMA (also called “ecstasy”, “X”, “E”, or “Molly”) is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that gives people feelings of pleasure and increased energy and can distort the senses. While it is true that it looks a bit like candy – it tends to be brightly colored and comes in different shapes – it looks that way because it’s a party drug, not because it’s targeting children.

There are plenty of other rumors about drugs being meant to attract kids that have proven to be false. There was on recently about pink methamphetamine that was supposedly being sold as “Strawberry Quik,” for its resemblance to the children’s drink. Similar to the stories about MDMA, the truth is that the color of the meth is incidental and usually a result of the manufacturing process, not an attempt to lure in children.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t check your child’s Halloween candy or any candy that you aren’t certain where it came from. These drugs – and others, like marijuana edibles or colorful bath salts – might look innocent to children who will be tempted to try them. That’s why it’s important to start educating your children about drugs when they’re young.

DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT DRUGS DISGUISED AS CANDY?

If you are concerned about candy either being contaminated or not actually being candy, the obvious first step is to dispose of anything that isn’t still sealed in a wrapper. Don’t accept homemade candy or baked goods from people who you aren’t well acquainted with. In things that are wrapped, check for tears or tiny holes. After you’ve opened it, look for anything strange about the appearance, like discoloration.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.