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Three Daycare Teachers Charged with Drugging Kids

From left: Kristen M. Lauletta, Jessica S. Heyse and Ashley Helfenbein. | Des Plaines police

DES PLAINES – Three teachers at a day care center in northwest suburban Des Plaines have been charged with drugging children with the sleep aid melatonin (which is usually used as a sleep aid or used to calm children down who may suffer from any type of hyperactivity disorder).

Officers were called at 12:48 p.m. Friday to Kiddie Junction, 1619 E. Oakton St. in Des Plaines, according to a statement from Des Plaines police. When they arrived, investigators learned that some of the teachers had been giving children gummy bears containing melatonin “in an effort to calm them down before nap time.”

The distribution of the melatonin was not authorized by the children’s parents, police said. Every parent with a child attending Kiddie Junction was notified about the investigation.

Kristen M. Lauletta, 32, of Niles; Jessica Heyse, 19, of Des Plaines; and 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein of Chicago were each charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and two counts of battery, police said.

The teachers told officers “they did not think administering the melatonin laced gummies was inappropriate as they were an over the counter sleep aid,” police said.  Police said the management of Kiddie Junction was “helpful and assisted during the entire investigation.”  Police also contact the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which will conduct its own investigation.

Based on most of the articles I read online, it says you should always consult with a doctor before giving your child melatonin.  Can a child overdose on meletonin?   It would appear that the answer is yes, if by overdose you mean feel unwell.  But what might happen, if anything at all, is impossible to predict. … Melatonin isn’t known to cause death, but can make some people feel sick.   Melatonin seems to affect people differently, with no known dosage threshold that would definitely cause anybody serious harm. A second issue is that melatonin doesn’t have an official recommended dosage in many countries.  That said, most doctors and researchers say you should take no more than 5 mg a day in most cases. And preferably even less if it’s taken for sleep problems.  Here are a list of some of the possible side effects of taking too much melatonin.

Possible melatonin side effects

So what are the side effects of melatonin that you might experience at any dosage level? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Daytime drowsiness

It might sound obvious, but one side effect is of course drowsiness. The point is though, if you take melatonin at the wrong time you can end up being drowsy during the day. This could increase the risk of accidents if driving or operating heavy machinery.

2. Hormonal changes

The effects of taking a synthetic hormone can be serious in some cases. For example, pregnant women are advised not to take melatonin as it might have negative effects on fetus growth.

It can also reduce the libido of both men and women, as well as interfere with women’s ovulation and men’s sperm count. So if you’re trying to get pregnant, you should avoid melatonin.

Although the long-term effects on people are still relatively unknown, there’s evidence that it can have negative consequences for animals. As researchers in 2015 stated:

It is known to have profound effects on the reproductive systems of rodents, sheep and primates, as well as effects on the cardiovascular, immune and metabolic systems

3. Mood changes

You may experience a range of mood changes, such as sadness, worsening depression or even feeling over-excitable. If you suffer from any kind of depressive illness, you should avoid melatonin unless your doctor recommends it.

4. Hallucinations, paranoia and disorientation

If you take a large overdose of melatonin, you might experience hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, confusion or paranoia.

5. Increase in vivid dreams and unusual sleep behavior

People often report that they have very vivid dreams when taking larger amounts of melatonin. It can also increase the frequency of sleep disorders such as sleep walking and nightmares.

6. Physiological effects

Melatonin has been found to have various effects on the body. This includes lowering blood pressure, or conversely raising it if you’re taking drugs to control it. It may have effects on blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

It can also bring about further problems for type 1 diabetics. This is due to a reduction in tolerance to insulin as well as increasing blood sugar levels.

7. Risk of seizures

This is a particular risk if you have any existing kind of seizure disorder. Again this can be potentially serious and another good reason to be careful with how much you take.

8. Nausea and other stomach problems

This is one of the more common side effects of melatonin, even at low doses. You may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pains or diarrhea.

9. Risks to infants through breast feeding

Mothers who are breast feeding should avoid melatonin unless recommended by a doctor.

10. Allergic reaction

In some rare cases you may experience an allergic reaction to melatonin. This could result in a rash, swelling of any parts of the face, tongue or throat, itching, dizziness and trouble breathing. You should seek immediate emergency medical help if these symptoms occur.

11. Increased risk of contracting immune system disorders

Melatonin may increase the risk of contracting autoimmune disorders such as Hepatitis or Crohn’s disease. For this reason, people who already have an autoimmune disorder should consult a doctor before taking melatonin.

12. Risk of liver damage

There’s thought to be an increased risk of liver damage. This is another reason people who have problems with alcohol misuse should consult a doctor before taking it.

For more info, please visit https://www.nosleeplessnights.com

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