Pupils swallowed herbal remedy pills

Tablets swallowed by 12 children in Christchurch were a herbal remedy designed for an adult, a toxicology report shows.

The Northcote Primary School pupils were taken to hospital about 10am on Tuesday after a teacher overheard them talking about swallowing the tablets.

The children, aged from seven to nine, were taken by ambulance from the school in the suburb of Redwood and discharged in the afternoon. Some had complained of stomach pain.

The children swallowed the tablets after another pupil found a container with Japanese writing on it containing the pills outside the school grounds and passed them around.

Dr Paul Gee, a poisons specialist at the hospital, says toxicology reports show the tablets were a herbal remedy and contained geranium extract.

Principal Neil Baker says the situation could have been much worse and teachers will be reiterating to pupils that if they find pills on the street they should hand them to an adult.

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