Trick-Or-Treaters Mistakenly Get Bipolar Medication Instead Of Candy

By John Lavitt 11/03/15

It all started with one person mistaking divalproex and quetiapine for candy.

trick or treaters candy.jpg
Pharmies for everyone! Shutterstock

In a truly bizarre and potentially dangerous mix-up, a grocery store in Quebec, Canada, doled out bipolar medication to trick-or-treaters the day before Halloween.

Police say they have retrieved all seven pills in three bags of bipolar medication accidentally distributed Friday to trick-or-treaters after a mix up at a grocery store. According to a report in the French language newspaper Le Soleil, a young girl in costume, "chewed and spat out the drugs distributed by mistake.”

The trouble began in the Metro grocery store when a female customer dropped divalproex and quetiapine from her purse that was intended for her 17-year-old. A customer found it on the floor and took the medicine to the service center counter next to a candy basket. Thinking the plastic bag of colorful drugs was candy, a store employee dropped them in the candy bin. Throughout the next several hours, several children took them as treats.

Upon finding the drugs in her daughter’s possession, one mother commented that she immediately recognized the pills to be drugs and confiscated them. "It was a transparent bag, with the name of the person, the drug, the dosage, the pharmacist and the date and time the prescription was filled; October 31 at 8 a.m. in the morning," said the mother.

Melissa Cliche, a spokeswoman for Quebec Police Department, told the Daily Star, "We don't know how ... an employee just mixed it with the candy by accident and distributed it to the kids." Police stressed to parents that the pills weren't dangerous. But such a statement seems disingenuous considering the side effects, which include suicidal thoughts, nausea, and tremors.

"Needless to say that it is important to verify all the candies and treats kids received during Halloween, no matter where they come from," said Nancy Roussel, a spokeswoman for Quebec Police Department. Despite the report of the young girl spitting out the drugs, Roussel confirmed that no one had reportedly swallowed the pills.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.