Handing Prescription Bottles Full Of M&Ms To Kids Is A Very Bad Idea

Image courtesy of (Karen Goad Williams)

It was one thing when a company selling products for babies handed out fake prescription bottles full of candy to bloggers who could, theoretically, bring them home to their children. Teaching kids that amber and white bottles contain candy is a terrible idea. Yet one college professor skipped the intermediary and handed out pill bottles filled with M&Ms directly to children, angering their parents and other community members.

The basic idea made sense: a pharmacy technology professor probably wanted to leave an impression on kids in a way that tied in to the subject she teaches, and decided to hand out bottles of M&Ms. These were amber-colored prescription bottles, with real-looking labels giving instructions to “take 1 m&m every 2 to 4 hours.” That’s a good way to ration out candy, but not such a good idea for young kids who aren’t clear on the difference between drugs and candy.

Indeed, one doctor who spoke to TV station WMBF explained that kids gobbling medicine are the cause of 40% of calls to poison control. “[T]hat’s one thing we’ve been trying to prevent for years, children thinking that medication is candy,” the doctor said. The bottles were handed out to children visiting the college campus for a family race.

In a statement on Facebook, the college apologized:

We have heard from several concerned parents that a faculty member promoting her medical technology program at Horry Georgetown Technical College filled pharmaceutical bottles with M&M candy and distributed them to children at a public event over the weekend.

While we know this professor meant the candy to serve as a treat, the method of distribution may have confused pre-school children whose parents have taught them not to take pills from pharmaceutical bottles. The college administration deeply apologizes for the distress and confusion this action may have caused and seeks your forgiveness for our thoughtlessness. We regret further that professors and administrators are human and, although eager to share information about growing careers, sometimes make mistakes. This particular mistake will not occur again.

College apologizes for pill bottles filled with candy given to kids [WMBF]