Parents of a 19-year-old California teen who recently died after smoking synthetic marijuana spoke to KTLA about trying to prevent similar deaths from happening in the future.
On July 11, Connor Eckhardt inhaled one hit of dried herbs that had been sprayed with chemicals to cause a pot-like high, his parents said.
“In a moment of peer pressure, he gave into that, thinking that was OK, it was somehow safe, and one hit later, he goes to sleep and never wakes up,” Connor’s father, Devin Eckhardt, said.
Connor Eckhardt quickly slipped into a coma and experienced brain swelling, his parents said.
Effects of smoking the often-legal product include altered mental state, irregular heartbeat and seizures, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“These substances are not benign,” Dr Andrew Monte, the lead author of an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, said. “You can buy designer drugs of abuse at convenience stores and on the Internet. People may not realize how dangerous these drugs can be – up to 1,000 times stronger binding to cannabis receptors when compared to traditional marijuana.”
Since Connor Eckhardt’s death, his parents fulfilled his wish to have his organs donated and created a Facebook page meant to carry on his memory and tell others about his untimely death.
Lu Parker reports for the KTLA 5 News at 1 on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014.