Police are warning parents to be aware of drug-laced candies that may be circulating in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana. A man was arrested in May 2017 on charges of lacing “Sweet Tarts” candy with an illegal drug.
Investigators note that there is nothing unusual about the appearance of the candy that would make it look suspicious, although there is no doubt that the product was tainted with drugs. Police fear a child might find the candy, ingest it, and have a reaction to the drug.
A suspect was arrested in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenfield, Indiana. Greenfield is the county seat of Hancock County. The suspect’s name is Jeramie Smith, age 30. Investigators have allegedly discovered more than 100 of the drug-laced candy tablets in Smith’s possession. Smith has been charged with ten counts of felony drug possession. His apartment is alleged to have contained marijuana and methamphetamine.
Lacing “Sweet Tarts” with the drug Xanax (the trade name of alprazolam) is a street drug trend sometimes referred to as “Xanie Tarts.” The trend has been noted among high school students. As a prescription medication, alprazolam is used for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other anxiety disorders. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines have muscle relaxant, sedative, and antidepressant effects. Individuals who have taken these drugs may present with slurred speech, memory loss, anxiousness, and drowsiness. Overdose of these medications can lead to low blood pressure, fainting upon standing too quickly, shallow breathing, and (particularly if combined with other drugs) coma and death.
The Indiana county of Bartholomew has also seen this type of drug activity. A student at Indiana University in the Bartholomew city of Columbus, Indiana was arrested in 2016 for allegedly selling gummy candies laced with Xanax out of his home. Columbus is located south of Greenfield.
Methamphetamine can be highly dangerous if accidentally ingested by a person who thinks that he or she is eating candy. Symptoms of methamphetamine overdose include irregular heartbeat, dangerously high or low blood pressure, and mental confusion. Severe reactions to methamphetamine use include kidney failure, bleeding in the brain, convulsions, coma, and death.
Police suggest that parents talk to their children about these drugs so young people are aware of the danger of overdose. These designer drugs that look like candy tablets may be referred to as “SweeTarts” or “Smarties.”
SweeTarts is the brand name of a candy manufactured by Nestlé. They were invented in 1962 by Joseph Fish Smith, then the owner of the Sunline, Inc. brand that manufactured Pixy Stix candy. SweeTarts were made of the same ingredients as Pixy Stix in response to consumer requests for a less-messy version of the already-popular powdered candy. In the U.S., Smarties are a similar tablet candy first made in 1949 and produced by the Smarties Candy Company (formerly Ce De Candy Inc.). The United Kingdom makes a different, unrelated candy called Smarties, which are chocolate discs with multicolored candy shells, similar to M&Ms.
Accidental ingestion of alprazolam, methamphetamine, or any street drug should be considered a medical emergency. Those who come across any of the “Sweet Tart”-laced drugs should call the Greenfield, Indiana police department at (317) 477-4410 with any information.
Learn more about Drug Safety.