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S.J. girl ingested locoweed, police say
    #3151138 - 09/18/04 02:31 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)


Posted on Sat, Sep. 18, 2004

S.J. girl ingested locoweed, police say


By Chuck Carroll

Mercury News

An East San Jose property owner has agreed to remove a plant known as locoweed from his property after at least one student got high on it, according to police.

On Tuesday afternoon, a student at Overfelt High School began acting strangely and looked ill after ingesting the hallucination-inducing plant. After being sent to the principal's office for observation, she grew increasingly irrational and incoherent, saying she was so hot she wanted to take off her clothes, said Rick Abeyta, chief of safety and security for the East Side Union High School District.

When a school liaison police officer arrived, he gave the girl a field sobriety test and concluded she was on some sort of drug. She was sent to a hospital.

When officer Dave Gonzales followed up the next day, ``more than a few'' other students at the school told him the girl had ingested a plant growing on a tree in a yard on Calview Avenue, a short distance from the school, Abeyta said. Gonzales also learned that a student at Fischer school, a middle school in the same general neighborhood, had the same sort of experience after ingesting the same weed about six months ago.

When school and police officials approached the property owner, he said he had no idea that children were raiding the plant. Police said he has agreed to cut down the tree on which the plant has been growing.

Officials have since identified the plant as Datura stramonium, which has long been known for its powerful and unpredictable hallucinogenic properties. Also known as jimson weed and locoweed, it can be smoked, brewed in a tea or eaten. People and animals that ingest it can become extremely agitated.

Abeyta said the East Side Union High School District was not planning to warn parents and students about the weed because they consider the recent incident to be ``isolated.''

``It's the first involvement of any of our students that we're aware of,'' Abeyta said of the girl's experience. The Fischer school is in the Alum Rock Union School District.

Last year, poison control centers in the United States received 151 calls about jimson weed, said Rose Ann Soloway, associate director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

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