Doctor's office will X-ray Halloween candy

St. Marys family finds pills inside Snickers candy bars

By Heather Leigh - Reporter

ST. MARYS, Ga. - After a St. Marys family received tainted Halloween candy, doctors at American Family Care in Jacksonville announced Tuesday that they are screening candy with high-tech X-ray equipment to make sure other kids do not open or eat contaminated candy.

The X-ray is free.

"It's worrisome that someone would put anything in candy that they are giving out to children," said Dr. Mark Smith, an emergency medicine physician. "I worry about the safety of our children on such a fun holiday as Halloween and trick or treating."

For parents who are still nervous, Smith's office is open to help provide parents peace of mind.

The St. Marys Police Department received a report Monday of pills found inside Snickers candy bars. One was a "bite sized" bar and the other was a "fun sized" bar.

One of the pills was identified as Risperdal, which is an anti-psychotic medicine. It's used to treat schizophrenia and symptoms of bipolar disorder. 

Some of the side effects are headache, dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling, tremors, twitching or uncontrollable muscle movements, anxiety, dry mouth, constipation or pain in arms or legs.

The second pill in the candy was identified as loratadine, which is an antihistamine and the side effects are insomnia, dry mouth, headache, nervousness, dizziness and fatigue.

"They could have a reaction to the medicine, someone could have an allergy to a certain type of medicine. Depending on what type of medicine is in the candy, it could be harmful to the child," Smith said.

That's why Smith's practice, American Family Care at 13457 Atlantic Blvd., Suite 5, in Jacksonville, offered its X-ray machine for families to be certain their children's candy is OK.

"You need to be cautious, know where your children trick-or-treat. Check the candy that they receive. Make sure it hasn't been tampered with," Smith said. "If there is candy that looks like it's been unraveled or questionable, you know I would discard that candy. It's not worth taking the risk."

For parents who are still nervous, Smith's office is open to help provide parents peace of mind.

If you discover any candy that has been tainted with unknown substances, please contact your local law enforcement officials. 

Police are encouraging all parents to carefully check over their children's Halloween candy by examining the packaging for tampering and slicing the candy into pieces before eating.

Copyright 2015 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.