Viral Warning About Ecstasy In Trick-Or-Treat Bags Causes Parental Panic

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Viral Warning About Ecstasy In Trick-Or-Treat Bags Causes Parental Panic

By May Wilkerson 10/27/15

Is there reason for parents to be worried this Halloween?

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It’s not only ghosts and tiny Donald Trump wigs that will be terrifying parents this Halloween.

A cautionary message has spread via social media that colorful ecstasy tablets could end up mistaken for candy in kids’ trick-or-treat bags. The dramatic warning was initially posted on Facebook by police in Jackson, Miss., and has since gone viral.

"If your kids get these for Halloween candy, they ARE NOT CANDY," says the post. "They are the new shapes of ecstasy and can kill kids through overdoses!!!"

Police from other parts of the country are fueling the panic, warning that accidentally ingesting ecstasy, a popular party drug, could put kids at risk. "They'd be in the emergency room without a doubt,’ said Capt. Guy Turner of the Westlake, Ohio police force. “The ecstasy, among other things, it causes you to grind your teeth and hallucinate. That would be extremely frightening for the child, the parents as well.”

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA or “Molly,” is a "synthetic, psychoactive drug" that "produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distortions in sensory and time perception," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The drug tends to cause a rush of euphoria, often followed by an emotional crash, and can cause a dangerous increase in heart rate.

But all this fear about kids accidentally rolling on ecstasy may be grounded in little more than hearsay and paranoia. According to the myth-busting website Snopes.com, there’s no actual evidence that anyone has ever slipped ecstasy tablets into a child’s trick-or-treat bag, even though MDMA has been around for decades.

"The 'ecstasy in Halloween candy' warning looked to be a variant of age-old rumors about poison (and other dangerous substances) being randomly handed out to children in trick-or-treat loot, a persistent but largely baseless fear that's dogged Halloween celebrations for decades," says Snopes.com.

The rumor doesn’t make much sense from an economical perspective, either. The website notes that a small collection of ecstasy pills could sell for hundreds of dollars, "so the notion that a neighbor would be distributing them to trick-or-treaters for no ostensible reason is rather implausible."

But just to be safe, the FDA recommends kids should not eat Halloween candy until it has been inspected by their parents. Also, kids should only accept store-bought candy in commercial wrappers, and all candy that appears tampered with should be thrown out.

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