Police in Medicine Hat have seized just over a kilogram of methamphetamine in what investigators say is the largest bust of its kind in that southeastern Alberta city.

Investigators also found 226 grams of cocaine in the operation last week, said the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) in a release Monday.

ALERT's organized crime branch confiscated the drugs during a pre-planned traffic stop Friday of a vehicle just inside the city on Highway 3. Officers found the drugs in the trunk of the rented vehicle, ALERT said.

Police believe the drugs were being transported from Lethbridge to Medicine Hat.

The saying “children are not small adults” is true in many respects, including its application to the treatment of children’s medical disorders with over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

It is important to consider the differences between children and adults when using these medicines – differences in dose, side effects, therapeutic effectiveness, and administration.

Together, the drugs had a street value of about $125,000, officials said.

Determining a medicine’s proper dose for an infant or child is most often based upon weight. As infants and young children grow and gain weight rapidly in early life, a medicine’s dose often increases quickly. The dose of a medicine for an infant or child may be greater just several months later, as more weight is gained. Administering the same medicine dose that was given just several months previously to an infant or child is very commonly done, and it may result in less, or even no benefit. Doses of medicines given to adults typically are similar among individuals, without much consideration given to the adult’s weight. Although doses of over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), can also be determined using the child’s age, medicine doses determined by the child’s weight are most accurate.

Another important difference is medicine side effects. A good example is aspirin – a medicine that most adults have likely taken to treat a fever or pain. Yet aspirin, when given to children for fever or pain, is more likely to result in a fatal adverse effect (Reye’s syndrome), as compared to adults, and therefore is not recommended. Other examples exist of differing medicine side effects between adults and children, and thus it is best to ask your child’s pharmacist or physician, “Will this medicine have different side effects in my child, as compared to me?”

A very practical consideration faced by many parents when giving liquid medicines to infants and children is taste. A liquid medicine product that does not taste good will likely be refused, or spit out by the infant or child. What does the parent do then? Fortunately, pediatric health care professionals often have several “tricks up their sleeves” that can be helpful. For example, flavoring can often be added by a pharmacist to improve the medicine’s taste. Grape, chocolate, or banana flavorings, among others, added to the medicine bottle can improve its taste. Another helpful method is the use of a good-tasting liquid, such as chocolate or butterscotch syrup, given to the child before and after the medicine. Most children like chocolate syrup, and it can coat the tongue and help to hide a medicine’s not-so-good taste.

The alleged driver of the rental car, Shonna Scriven, 47, of Medicine Hat, was arrested and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime.

Michael Abate, a 28, of Lethbridge, was arrested simultaneously in Lethbridge and charged with drug trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime.

If the medicine’s taste is flavored and improved, can the parent administer it with a teaspoon? The best answer to this question is no, as home teaspoons are notoriously inaccurate measuring devices. What should be used, a medicine dosing cup, a medicine dosing teaspoon, an oral dosing syringe? These devices differ by their ease (or difficulty) of use and accuracy. An oral dosing syringe is most often recommended for younger children.

My recent book, “Children’s Medicines: What Every Parent, Grandparent and Teacher Needs to Know,” includes further discussions about these topics, including giving vitamins, herbal products and vaccines to children. Are they effective for use in infants and children? Are they safe? “Children’s Medicines” describes these topics in detail, including the science supporting current recommendations for the safe and effective use of medicines in infants, children, and adolescents.

Edward Bell, a pediatric pharmacist for nearly 30 years, is professor of pharmacy practice at Drake University.