LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The parents of Connor Eckhardt -- the California teenager who died shortly after a hit of synthetic marijuana put him in a coma -- are trying to raise awareness about the dangers of the sometimes legal drug.
"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, recently told local news channel KTLA.
Nineteen-year-old Eckhardt died a month ago after inhaling the fumes of dried herbs sprayed with a mixture of synthetic chemicals intended to replicate the high of real pot. Because laws are reactionary, synthetic marijuana makers are constantly mixing up a new concoction to spray on herbs and stay one step ahead of legislatures.
Despite increasingly comprehensive laws forbidding the sale of synthetic cannabinoids, new versions are constantly making their way to market, exploiting the tiniest of loopholes.
And wherever synthetic pot brands have hit the market, spikes in emergency room visits have followed. A number of studies have linked synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs to instances of stroke, brain damage and in some cases -- like that of Eckhardt -- coma and death.