In the Open- Willy Wonka in Today’s World

Willy Wonka in Today’s World

(Part 7: In the Open blog series)

by Stephanie Pericich

In last week’s mail, there was an ad for free caramels that featured a photo of a single wrapped caramel. The ad came from a store that sells products containing CBD, delta-8 THC, and Kratom. CBD and delta-8 THC are chemicals found in the cannabis plant, and Kratom is an extract from a tropical evergreen tree. According to the ad’s fine print, each free caramel contains 40 mg of CBD and 20mg of Delta-8 THC, and customers must be 18+ to redeem the caramels offer.

Substances such as Kratom, CBD, and delta-8 THC are associated with the potential for contamination, mind-altering effects, and/or other side effects. These effects may be more pronounced in kids and teens. Last summer, I attended a seminar that mainly focused on the possible side effects of Kratom. But the speaker also told us about Kratom gummies on the market that are shaped like Superman’s cape, and gummies that contain up to four adult doses of Kratom per gummy. Yikes!

All of this has prompted discussions with my son about exercising caution when accepting candies or chocolates, particularly from anyone other than a trusted adult. When I was a teen, I remember avoiding eating jello at parties, because jello “shots” containing vodka were quite popular at that time. I’m sure that jello shots are still around, but in today’s world, substances that are not meant for kids’ consumption are found in many more products, e.g., coffees, teas, lollipops, chocolate bars, candy, etc.

These edible enticements (with potentially negative consequences) call to mind the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. But there is an important distinction: The movie is fictional, but the temptations and risks for our kids and teens are all too real.

Stephanie Pericich is a Parkway area wife, mother and an independent author of non-fiction and poetry. Ms. Pericich has volunteered to share her experiences and perspectives as a mother navigating the challenges of parenting for the purpose of encouraging community conversations about keeping kids safe and healthy.

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