Sweets that put 13 teenage girls in hospital were Gummi Bear fakes laced with cannabis, it was claimed today.
Paramedics descended on La Sainte Union Catholic School in Highgate, Camden, at 11.44am on Monday, amid claims students had fallen ill after eating sweets during their morning break.
Yesterday Scotland Yard has confirmed the sweets contained THC – the active component in cannabis.
And this morning a parent told MailOnline they had been made to look like the popular Gummi Bear sweets.
Jan, who did not want to give her last name said: ‘We’ve heard that they ate too many of the Gummie Bears and then started feeling sick when they went into class.
‘The teacher became concerned because one of the girls vomited and the others felt as if they were about to. We’re still waiting to hear the full story from the school but it’s very worrying that this kind of behaviour is taking place during school time.’
Pictures show a row of ambulances and first responder vehicles parked outside the school – police have confirmed paramedics were treating pupils who had eaten sweets laced with cannabis
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: 'We were called at 11.44am today to reports of an incident at La Sainte Union Catholic School, Highgate’
Annie, another parent said: ‘All the school is talking about these Gummie Bears but I’ve also heard that other kinds of cannabis sweets were eaten.
‘My daughter has told me that this is not the first time that girls have taken these sweets in school but nothing like this has ever happened before.
‘These sweets are very strong, and the girls ate about four or five each, which is way too much and can send you over the top.’
A statement released by Met Police officers in Camden read: 'We understand the sweets contained THC.
’We await tests to establish the quantity of THC in each sweet.
’While we await a full update from hospital, nobody is seriously unwell. There has been no arrest; enquiries continue.’
Police in Camden are carrying out tests to see how much THC was placed in each of the sweets
Sweet but dangerous
Cannabis infused sweets have become the latest craze among teenagers with authorities warning parents that they pose a serious danger because of their strength and if consumed to excess.
Known as ‘edibles’ they are freely available on the internet for around £20 for a packet of 30.
But street dealers are selling individual sweets for as little as £1 each, prompting a surge in popularity amongst school pupils, particularly in London and other urban areas.
The ‘edibles’ are attractively packaged in a way designed to appeal to young people while making it difficult to distinguish them from regular sweets.
One London schoolgirl told MailOnline: ‘All the kids are taking them, during school time and outside of it. They’re easy to get hold of and they’re very cheap, especially if you get them off the dealers. If you buy them on the internet, they’re delivered to your house.’
The ‘sweets’ come in a variety of different strengths of THC – the active component in cannabis, ranging from 75mg to a mind-bending 300mg, which can cause vomiting and other side effects.
Concerns have been raised however, that not all the packaging contains adequate information as to their strength and simply state ‘infused with cannabis.’
Some of the ‘sweets’ market themselves as a health treatment with one British website claiming: ‘Eating marijuana works better for LONG LASTING pain relief muscle spasms and similar conditions.’
Amongst the ‘edibles’ it lists are: Gummie Bears; Cherry Candy; Watermelon Rings and Peach Rings. THC laced fruit syrup is also available. All of it comes in stylised, colourful packaging.
While it is illegal to sell items containing THC in the UK for recreational purposes, it is legal for medical reasons, providing a dangerous loophole which many youngsters and dealers are exploiting.
Earlier this year, police warned children against eating watermelon-flavour sweets laced with cannabis.
They warned that the cartoon-covered Stoner Patch packets did not contain details about how strong the ‘sweets’ are and whether or not they are legal.
North Yorkshire PC Lauren Green said: ‘We want to make parents and carers aware that we have seen a rise in young people being in possession of drug-infused sweets known as “edibles”.
‘They can look very similar to well-known sweets such as Haribo, Smarties and chocolate bars. Edibles can be laced with illegal drugs such as cannabis and MDMA.
‘Unregulated sweets like these are dangerous as we don’t know what levels of drugs they contain.’
Some of the girls are thought to have spent the night at a hospital in Barnet, with the school asking parents to obtain a 'written statement,’ on how the drug-laced sweets were brought into school.
The girls are thought to have headed back to class, where they reported feeling dizzy, while some vomited.
Pictures show a row of ambulances and first responder vehicles parked outside the main building opposite Hampstead Heath.
One witness told MailOnline they saw 'girls outside the ambulances crying and one throwing up’.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive element of cannabis that causes a high, it is illegal to sell items containing THC in the UK, while cannabidiol (CBD) is legal to sell and is available on the high street as a health treatment.
In a letter seen by the MailOnline, headteacher Sophie Fegan wrote: 'We are working with the police to identify the origin of the „sweets”.
’Once your daughter has recovered, I will need her to tell us how she came into possession of the „sweets” and what she thought they were.
’I am sure you will be asking her these questions too: it would be most helpful if you would ask your daughter to prepare a written statement for me.
’We already know the name of the student who brought the sweets in, but we need to know more about how and why they were shared.’
The pupils were treated at the scene after suffering from a 'sugar rush’ and taken to hospital but police said none are believed to be 'seriously unwell’.
A spokesman for the school said the contents of what the students ate are being investigated.
He said: 'A small number of our students have been taken to hospital today after becoming ill.
’The students became ill after eating what they believed were sweets. The contents of what the students ate and how they came into possession of them is being investigated by the police.
’We have made parents aware of this incident.’
A police spokesman said: 'Police were called by London Ambulance Service at around 1145hrs on Monday, 5 October, to reports of children feeling unwell having eaten what they believed to be sweets at a school in Highgate Road, NW5.
’As a precaution, 13 children have been taken to hospital. Their parents have been informed.’
Police had earlier confirmed that the school did not need to be evacuated as a result of the incident.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: 'We were called at 11.44am today to reports of an incident at La Sainte Union Catholic School, Highgate.
’We dispatched a number of resources including a clinical team leader, five ambulance crews, medics in cars and incident response officers.’
’We assessed thirteen teenagers at the scene and took them to hospital.’
The 159-year-old school, which counts singer Tulisa and Harry Potter actress Imelda Staunton among its alumni, has been approached for comment.
Paramedics were at La Sainte Union Catholic School in Highgate, Camden, at 11.44am
Headmistress Sophie Fegan is expected to hold a special assembly at the school tomorrow to discuss the incident.
The school’s mission statement reads: 'We are a Catholic school and we strive to provide a caring, secure environment in which girls realise their full potential.
’When a girl joins LSU, she and her family join a strong community of pupils, parents, governors and staff.
’We seek to ensure pupils feel a sense of belonging and a deep commitment to our central values of service, courage, and justice.
’The school focuses on educating the whole person, academically, socially, spiritually and morally through a curriculum centred on the needs and aspirations of all pupils.’
La Sainte Union, which has 1,032 students aged 11 to 18, was rated 'good’ in a 2019 Ofsted report.