Hospital staff removed Emily Bauer's breathing tube and stopped all medication and nourishment. Only morphine flowed into her body, as the family waited by her side in her final moments. But the next morning, she was still alive.
"Good morning, I love you," her mother told Emily as she approached the bed. A hoarse voice whispered back, "I love you too." Emily was back. Her family said the drug wasn't bought from a dealer or offered to her at a party. It was a form of synthetic weed packaged as "potpourri" that she and friends bought at a gas station.
At first, her stepfather, Tommy Bryant, said he was "fixing to whip somebody's ass," as he thought someone older than 18 bought it for her. Fake pot sends teen to ICU Father working to get drugs off streets Bryant already knew she used real marijuana occasionally. "It's not that I condoned it," he said, adding that he couldn't follow her around all day. Bryant enforces a strict no-smoking rule in the house, and said that if he ever caught Emily smoking, she'd be grounded.
"Had I thought that there was any chance that she could have been hurt by this stuff, I would have been a lot more vigilant. I had no idea it was so bad," Bryant said. "I'd never have thought we'd be in this situation. If she had bought it off the street or from a corner, that's one thing, but she bought it from convenience store." Best known by the street names "Spice" or "K2," fake weed is an herbal mixture sprayed with chemicals that's meant to create a high similar to smoking marijuana. Advertised as a "legal" alternative to weed, it's often sold as incense or potpourri and in most states, it's anything but legal.
Who wound up in the emergency room the most? Children ages 12 to 17. The first laws banning synthetic drugs popped up in 2010. Older legislation targeted specific versions of the drug, but the makers of Spice were a step ahead. "These drug manufacturers slightly change the chemical compound, and it becomes a different substance that's not covered by the law," said NCSL policy specialist Alison Lawrence. Synthetic marijuana just as dangerous.