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Philippines – Marijuana-laced brownies or cakes are now proliferating in the streets, warned Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director general Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez Jr.

PDEA issued the reminder in light of a recent report citing the existence of homemade baked goods that contained marijuana presented as a birthday gift.

Last week one nurse in a provincial hospital in San Marcelino, Zambales reportedly received three boxes of baked brownies from a certain chef as birthday present, which she shared with other co-employees.

“Later that day, 17 employees of the said hospital felt dizziness and pain; eventually fell ill after eating the brownies. They were given immediate medical attention afterwards,” PDEA said in a statement to Manila Channel.

When the brownies were laboratory examined it showed positive result for the presence of extracted marijuana leaves “purposely mixed as ingredients in baking the brownies.”

“Eating marijuana-spiked brownies, or pastries present major health risks and the continuous consumption of these has the potential to be addictive to unsuspecting consumers,” Gutierrez said.

“Thus, we are sending out this stern warning to the public not to accept any box of goodies/pastries from anonymous persons because it may contain illegal drugs. PDEA is presently intensifying its intelligence gathering to arrest unscrupulous elements using this method of drug-pushing,” Gutierrez said.

According to PDEA, marijuana is considered to be a gateway drug and its users have a strong inclination to move on to much-harder drugs later on.