You’d expect Connor Eckhardt’s parents to be devastated and they are. Their only son, their first-born, died unexpectedly at the age of 19 after, they say, taking literally one hit of a synthetic form of marijuana nicknamed ”Spice”. “We thought we were in touch. We thought we were the cool parents. We knew what was going on.” Sadly, it appears they did not. However, they’re channeling their grief into a worldwide educational and awareness campaign about the dangers of what are generally labeled ”synthetics”, sold online and in some specialty stores with names like “Spice”, “K-2”, and “Scooby Snax”. Illegal, they are often labeled (wink, wink), as ”not for human consumption”.
The Eckhardts, through Connor’s Facebook page and through a website called Do It 4 Connor, are getting the word out that synthetics can not only kill, they can cause heart attacks, brain damage, hallucinations and addiction. Former Spice addicts we talked to at places like Southern California’s Newport Academy agree. One young man said ”your body wants it, even though you know you shouldn’t”. A young woman told us ”the last time I smoked it, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”. Another young man’s interview was almost unusable because he could barely answer even basic questions. Another, aware of Connor’s death, correctly labeled it ”Russian Roulette”. Counselors say kids think they’re getting a ”safer” alternative to pot, but it isn’t.
Spice and products like it are essentially shredded plant matter, sprayed with chemicals and packaged in attractive little envelopes. You don’t know where it’s made or what it’s sprayed with, according to DEA and LA County Sheriff’s investigators I spoke with in researching this story. “Spice” is smoked like pot. Why use it at all? Those who’ve tried it say it’s edgy, it’s new and different, and significantly, it typically doesn’t even show up in most drug screening tests, which is another big factor in its popularity. Survey’s done by the Feds show that 8% of all high school seniors have tried it (about 30 % have tried marijuana).
Yes, deaths are rare, but isn’t just one scary enough? It certainly should be. Devin Eckhardt says one of the results of his son Connor’s death has been all of the feedback, comments, and support from other parents, who are using it as an opportunity to talk to their own kids before it’s too late. Take a look at that website, look at the pictures of a happy healthy athletic teenager, and then compare them to the pictures of Connor lying in a coma hooked up to machines. That is what we consider a real ”wake up call.”.
Source: Fox 32 Chicago