Meth-Laced Gummy Bears Weren't The Reason 6 Students Got Sick

By Keri Blakinger 11/09/17

After faulty field tests said the gummy bears tested positive for meth, further forensic testing revealed the actual drug that sparked the incident.

woman holding a handful of gummy bears

Six Alabama students were hospitalized last week after supposedly eating meth-laced gummy bears—but after further testing, officials said Monday that the speedy sweets were actually tainted with THC. 

The candy conundrum kicked off Nov. 2, when five girls and one boy were rushed in for treatment after field tests came back positive for meth, according to Sgt. Joe Mahoney of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. 

The students, ages 15 to 17, were reportedly acting “weird”—showing signs of lethargy, mood swings and elevated hearts rates. The bizarre behavior at Alma Bryant High School prompted the roadside testing, and saw another three students sent to Strickland Youth Center. 

Investigators also probed the possible involvement of adults in the tainted treats distribution. 

But after the candies were sent off for further forensic testing, authorities realized it was THC and not meth that sparked the drama. 

"I think either way it's bad, I mean if you want to say that meth is a more addictive, dangerous drug, I guess you could say that, but either way it's bad because you have a kid taking something and they don't know what's in it," said Lt. Rassie Smith. 

All of the hospitalized students were released the same day and are expected to be fine, while the trio behind the drugged delicacies was arrested and charged with felony unlawful distribution. 

This isn’t the first time in recent months that drug-drenched candies have grabbed headlines. Usually such dire warnings are reserved primarily for Halloween, and often the worry about candy contents is for naught. But in June, a Texas couple was arrested after authorities found $1 million of meth-covered lollipops and other candy.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene in response to a burglary, but allegedly found two 36-year-olds loading the drugs into their car.

“They had put so many narcotics in the back of the vehicle, so they were trying to flee, and they couldn’t even close the back hatch to their vehicle,” one official said.

“I don’t believe these two people were the actual people making them. The other part of our investigation is going to be trying to figure out who’s actually making them.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.