Pubdate: Sat, 16 Oct 2010
Source: Toccoa Record, The (GA)
Copyright: 2010 The Toccoa Record
Author: Todd Truelove
Bookmark: (Hallucinogens)


The lighthearted phrase "please don't eat the daisies" may well take 
on a new connotation in Toccoa since police this week reported a 
flower-ingested death.

In the middle of the summer 2010, a Toccoa police officer found a man 
dead at Andrews Court Apartments.

Not far from the body, officers discovered a backpack full of angel 
trumpet -- a plant which his roommate reported to police that 
32-year-old Larry Oneal Wilbanks, Jr., had been eating earlier in the day.

Police chief Jackie Whitmiare said that an official cause of death 
was undetermined at the time, so the body was sent to the GBI for an autopsy.

The results of that autopsy, received on Friday, Oct. 7, confirmed 
that Wilbanks had died of respiratory failure, a common cause of 
death associated with angel's trumpet due to the plant's tendency to 
increase body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, but not 
allow perspiration.

Whitmire said detectives interviewed Wilbanks' roommate who said that 
Wilbanks was sick and throwing-up the night before and that morning.

"The cause of death was from eating this particular plant," said Whitmire.

Angel's trumpet is a highly toxic, plant typically grown for 
ornamentation and is a familiar fixture in local landscapes.

According to reports from other sources, the plant also contains a 
hallucinogenic drug.

However, those same reports indicate that those foolish enough to 
experiment with ingesting the plant often experience deadly results 
- -- whether by eating it, smoking it, or making a tea out of it.

Four teens from Sanford, Fla. who experimented with angel's trumpet 
were found by one's mother "foaming at the mouth, having twitches, 

Quick hospitalization and treatment saved their lives, but it took 
days for them to recover.

In Moose Jaw, Canada, five children were hospitalized last month 
after eating the seeds from angel's trumpet and the local newspaper 
reported the toxic plant was becoming popular as a "recreational 
drug" across North America.

Whitmire said that besides Wilbanks, there had been no other reports 
locally about deaths caused by angel's trumpet but that he was 
contacted by doctors and even the Centers for Disease Control out of 
Atlanta with questions about the death.

He said he was concerned about the plant being used for ornamentation 
and a child accidentally eating it as well as the possibility its use 
may be escalating.

"This may be spreading among the drug culture as a hallucinogenic," 
said Whitmire. "It's a dangerous drug to be trying."
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