Police and parents are on alert as Halloween approaches after a photo of the drug Ecstasy masked as candy has gone viral.
The Jackson, Mississippi, Metro Police Department posted a photo on its Facebook page that shows colorful tablets in an array of shapes – including skeletons, dice and the Superman's logo – that look like candy, but are actually Ecstasy.
"If your kids get these for Halloween candy, they ARE NOT CANDY!!!" the police department posted on its Facebook page. "They are the new shapes of 'Ecstasy' and can kill kids through overdoses!!! So, check your kid's candy and 'When in doubt, Throw it out!!! Be safe and always keep the shiny side up!!!'"
NBC Connecticut showed the photo to Tim Healy, of Plainville, and asked him what it looked like to him and he said candy.
When we told him it was actually Ecstasy, his response was, "Wow."
While there have been no reports of the masked Ecstasy in Connecticut, state police are warning children and families to be cautious about Halloween candy.
The candy-like Ecstasy does come with a warning that if a child were to overdose – the consequences can be scary.
Dr. Michele Petrucelli, of Hartford Hospital, said possible symptoms of an Ecstasy overdose include dehydration, nausea and vomiting.
She has worked her fair share of Halloweens at Hartford Hospital and said the photo of candy-like Ecstasy has her more concerned about partiers than trick-or-treaters.
"Maybe they’re going to a group party and there's a bowl of something that appears to be candy. Someone reaches in," Petrucelli said. "Somebody else thinks it's funny to put one or two pills in there, and that can really be a problem."
Trick-or-treater Gwen Healy, of Plainville, said when she gets candy on Halloween, she doesn't eat it until she gets home so that her parents can check it.
If children come home with candy like the masked Ecstasy shown in the photo and you have doubts about it, the best bet is to throw it out.
Doctors at Hartford Hospital said they see more than dangerous candy cases on Halloween.
They also see patients on Halloween night who are hit or run into something because it's so dark outside. So, their primary tip is to bring something that lights up while trick-or-treating.