Escondido mother speaks out after her son ate THC gummies and was hospitalized

"To see his whole body shaking, not being able to open his eyes, is something I would never forget," Claudia Curiel said

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Four third-grade students at North Broadway Elementary School in Escondido, California, recently ate edibles, or food laced with THC, while at school.

One of them had to be hospitalized for several days. The mother of that 9-year-old boy spoke to NBC 7 and is hoping to send a message to parents.

Claudia Curiel, the mother, describes the incident as a tragedy.

"Seeing my son that way is what shocked me so much," Curiel told NBC 7 in Spanish. "To see his whole body shaking, not being able to open his eyes, is something I will never forget."

It was a cannabis overdose, according to a document from Rady Children's Hospital.

"I asked him, 'What did you eat?' He told me the name of the child and said, 'He gave me a gummy, and I ate it,'" the mother recalled.

Curiel's son wasn't the only one who ate the gummies.

"On October 11th, at about 11 a.m., four students were evaluated by the District's school nurse after they reported feeling ill after consuming a food product that may have contained THC, the controlled ingredient found in marijuana," according to a statement from the Escondido School District. "Emergency responders were called to the school as a precaution, and the students were taken to a hospital for further evaluation."

When the doctors told Curiel that her son had ingested drugs, she says she felt terrible. But even more terrifying was hearing how much THC her son ingested.

"The doctors told me my boy consumed three gummies, 400 milligrams of marijuana each," she said.

Dr. Beatriz Villareal has dedicated more than 30 years to raising awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. She says drug-infused candy can easily be mistaken as normal candy.

"They don't know. They think it's funny," Villareal said. "When you're 9 years old and are around a lot of kids, they think, 'OK, take one.' 'I am going to take another one.'"

She said parents should take this case as an example to talk to their children.

"Talk to them about what happened in this case, and say there was an elementary school and a 9-year-old. Somebody gave him a gummy bear with marijuana, and these are the consequences. He almost died," she explained.

After three days in the hospital, Curiel says her son was discharged. He's back at school, but his mother says her son is not the happy boy he was before the incident — he is quiet and nervous.

She fears the long-term consequences because of the amount of drugs he ingested.

"[Parents] must be responsible for what we have at home, especially if we have children," Curiel said when asked about whose to blame for what happened to her son.

Villareal also recommends all school districts talk to parents and educate them about the dangers and consequences of having drugs at home.

At this time, there is no criminal investigation, according to the Escondido Police Department. Child Protection Services is conducting an investigation.

Since cannabis was legalized in 2015, the number of children needing treatment at Rady Children's Hospital after ingesting it has increased from a handful to hundreds each year. The average age of those patients is 3-and-a-half years old, according to the hospital.

The effects of cannabis overconsumption on children can be life-threatening.

NBC 7’s Audra Stafford takes a closer look at the dangers of children accidentally ingesting edible marijuana products.
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