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Teens Hospitalized After Drinking Flower Concoction
POSTED: 10:50 am CDT May 28, 2004 UPDATED: 4:07 pm CDT May 28, 2004
NEW ORLEANS -- Three Kenner teenagers were hospitalized Monday after overdosing on a homemade concoction of boiled poisonous flowers mixed with a soft drink, police said.
The teens, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were taken to Kenner Regional Medical Center after convulsions and hallucinations gave way to a comalike state.
"One of them reported that he had been chewing on his arm because he thought it was a roast beef sandwich, and he offered it to other people," Kenner police spokesman Capt. Steve Caraway said.
Narcotics investigators learned that the teenagers had boiled Angel's Trumpet flowers because they didn't have money for drugs. They also planned to make several extra gallons of the concoction to sell, police said.
Caraway said no one was arrested because no laws were broken.
"It's obviously dangerous, but it's not controlled," Caraway said. "It's not scheduled."
The plant is listed on several Web sites as "poisonous if eaten." One site said the plant contains the toxic alkaloids that have caused poisoning and death by Jimsonweed, also known as "loco weed" because of its effect on cattle.
"It's a very beautiful plant, as you can see," said horticulturalist Marisa Cuplip. "At night, it's very fragrant and it almost -- especially the lighter-colored ones -- they almost glow in the dark. It's very enticing because of how pretty it is, but any part of it is very poisonous."
Symptoms usually begin 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion, and can last as long as three weeks in severe cases of poisoning. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, inability of the eyes to focus, thirst, nausea, urine retention and urinary tract pain, increased heart rate, hallucinations, panic, and coma, according to a news release from the Kenner Police Department.
The teens have since been released from the hospital and are recovering at home.