The seeds of a common spring time flower have become a popular party drug with teens.
Recently several teenagers in Massachusetts were hospitalized after eating Morning Glory seeds, prompting flower stores there to pull them from the shelves. So far we haven't seen any cases like that or any stores pulling them here in Mid-Michigan, but doctors says parents still need to be careful.
"They have kind of like a psychotropic effect," explained Angie Soltis, Lead Greenhouse Grower at Lansing Gardens. "It can be very dangerous."
There's a chemical in the seeds that's similar to LSD, which is why Soltis says she's always on the look out for suspicious purchases.
"If we're seeing Morning Glories going off the shelves here, probably more than five packets at a time it would probably put up a red flag," she explained.
The seeds can be chewed, inhaled or made into a tea. But MSU Dr. Edward Rosick tells me many teens don't realize how dangerous that can be.
"Just because it's natural, just because it's from a pretty flower doesn't mean it's safe," said Dr. Rosick, who's the Director of Michigan State University's Healthy Campus Initiative.
He says it takes hundreds of the seeds to feel an effect and taking that many can lead to serious side-effects.
"It'll cause hallucinations, but it will also cause things like paranoia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea," Dr. Rosick said.
The Morning Glory flower itself can't give you a high, it's only the seeds which are sold at many greenhouses for about $2 a package.
"Parents need to realize if their son or daughter comes home with 10 or 20 packs of Morning Glory seeds you might want to ask 'what are you doing with those?' " Rosick added.
As a former police officer Solitis says parents shouldn't be afraid to check on their kids.
"It comes down to really watching them, keeping up with the topics making sure you're involved, going through your children's backpacks, their trash in their bedrooms," she explained. "If come up with something, a pack of seeds or something you think is really odd, always ask."