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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 23Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Youth Drugs 17 at LDS Church Function In Ohio
(17 stricken by drugged dessert in Perrysburg)
Toledo OH Blade 23Jun00 D1

PERRYSBURG, OHIO -- A 15-year-old boy has admitted to drugging 17 people at an LDS Church function Wednesday night by putting a prescription sedative into their deserts. The victims, at the Church for a luncheon, complained of light-headedness and were taken by rescue crews to area hospitals.

The boy says that he inserted either a half or a whole 10 milligram Ambien pill into cupcakes that his stepmother baked for the luncheon, which was for LDS missionaries. The boy was at the luncheon to assist in serving the meal.

A pharmacist at St. Luke's Hospital in Perrysburg, Dr. Kevin Smith, says that Ambien "is one of the safer sedative medications." While prescribed in doses of 10 to 20 milligrams, he says "people have tolerated 10 to 20 times that amount." He added that he didn't know of any fatal overdoses from Ambien. The drug is generally used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

According to the police, the boy told them he was trying to get back at his sister, with whom he had argued earlier. "He hoped she would be blamed," said Detective Sgt. Doug Spencer. Police will confer with the Wood County prosecutor today about whether or not charges will be filed.

Officials didn't release the names of the victims, but said none of them were seriously ill. "The main symptoms were nausea, light-headedness, and vomiting," said Perrysburg Assistant Fire Chief Norm Horner. "Everyone was conscious."

Elder Steven Ballard, 21, of Ogden, Utah was one of the victims and was released from St. Luke's hospital. He said the symptoms were "mild enough that you could almost laugh at them." Elder Spencer Taylor, 20, from Mapleton, Utah, who was not strickent, said that the missionaries attending the conference had started to sing a song when some started to complain of dizziness, confusion and nausea. "People started feeling weird," he said.

Elder Taylor didn't eat a cupcake, nor did Elder Dallas Fenstermaker, 22, of West Jordan, Utah, nor Justin Ricks, 19, of Resburg, Idaho. "It was crazy," said Elder Fenstermaker. Said Elder Ricks, "We were just all scared."

Some of those at the luncheon did notice chunks of a white substance in the cupcakes, but assumed it was just baking power, "Some were kind of in pill shape. But we didn't really think about it," Elder Fenstermaker said.

As he left the hospital, Elder Ballard said that he would go right back to work, "We'll continue to do the work. I think I'll go out and knock on a few doors." Asked about the 15-year-old perpetrator, Elder Ballard added, "We're from a Christian standpoint. We love other people and turn the other cheek."


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