Investigators: Teen sickened by drug-laced lollipop at middle school

Casey Sidden was taken to the hospital. (Source: WBTV)
Casey Sidden was taken to the hospital. (Source: WBTV)

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - An investigation is underway after a teenager was hospitalized after eating a drug-laced lollipop.
In a letter sent home to parents of students at West Iredell Middle School and West Iredell High School on Monday, principals assured parents that rumors of drug laced candy making students sick were unsubstantiated.
Now the sheriff's office and the school system say that the initial rumor was true.

Investigators with the Iredell County Sheriff's Office have concluded that a lollipop that was given to a middle school student was coated with opiates and bath salts.

According to investigators, the parent of a West Iredell Middle School student came to the Sheriff's and brought a lollipop, she stated her son, 13-year-old Casey Sidden, had received while at school which he ingested and then became ill.

"He said he didn't feel good," mother Stacy Sidden told WBTV.   "He said his stomach was hurting really really bad, he was as white as paper, sweating really bad.  When he told me about the candy I grabbed him, threw him in the car took off to urgent care."

Sidden says she is upset with the child who gave her son the candy, and upset that, in her mind, school officials initially didn't believe her son's story.

"I'm a straight up honest and blunt person, I have a bad attitude problem, when you mess with my child, it's like I told everybody else, you might as well have dug through the ground and got the devil up so that's who I'll be," mother Stacy Sidden told WBTV.  "I think the child should expelled from any Iredell County school, and I think his parents should be prosecuted."

The 13-year-old had to be treated at the hospital.

The Iredell County Sheriff's Office Crime lab was able to analyze the sample and determined the lollipop was coated with powder from a crushed pill of acetaminophen, mixed with residue of hydrocodone and a new bath salt compound.

Initial indications are that Sidden was given the lollipop at the school and it originated from a party outside of school.

"It was left over candy from the boy's sister who had a sweet 16 party," Sidden added.

It is unclear at this point if Sidden knew what he was ingesting.

The case is an active investigation and Sheriff's Office Detectives could file charges against those involved, saying there are several inconsistencies in some of the information provided to Detectives.

The candy was not being sold or marketed at the school, and appears to be an isolated incident.
While the school system initially acknowledged that the student had tested positive for opiates after eating the lollipop, the letter told parents that rumors about drug laced candy were "misinformation," and wrote that "at this point there is absolutely nothing to substantiate them."

On Tuesday, the school system responded to rumors that had been spreading through social media that several students had gotten ill as a result of the drug laced lollipops.
The letter to parents stated that one additional student was taken to the hospital by EMS on Friday, but stated that "there is no reason for us to believe this illness was in any way drug related."

"We promised parents that if we got any additional information we'd be the first one to share it and that's what we're trying to do" Dawn Creason told WBTV on Thursday. "We were doing the best that we could with what we had at the time."

A new letter went out to parents on Thursday acknowledging the new information, and inviting parents to a forum that will deal with substance abuse at West Iredell High School next week.

Creason, Public Information Officer for the Iredell Statesville Schools told WBTV on Tuesday that one of the biggest issues the schools were dealing with were the rumors. Creason said that the school system was essentially the last to know about the accusation of drug laced candy.

Creason says the rumors are still flying.

"There is still a lot of misinformation floating around, we keep hearing about lots of sick children and hospital visits and stuff like that and those are not true, it's just not true," Creason added.

Sidden's mom told WBTV that Casey is doing fine now and it back at football practice.

She says she is very angry at school system and insisted to WBTV that there are more victims.

The investigation continues.