Connor Eckhardt’s parents told KTLA that on July 11, their 19-year-old son inhaled one hit of dried herbs that had been sprayed with chemicals to cause a marijuana-like high.
“In a moment of peer pressure, he gave into that, thinking that was OK, it was somehow safe,” said Connor’s father, Devin Eckhardt. “And one hit later, he goes to sleep and never wakes up.”
The parents said that Connor quickly slipped into a coma and experienced brain swelling.
The Los Angeles Times reported that effects of smoking the often-legal product include altered mental state, irregular heartbeat and seizures.
“These substances are not benign,” said Dr. Andrew Monte, the lead author of an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. “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.”
Connor Eckhardt’s parents have created a Facebook page meant to carry on his memory and tell others about his untimely death. They said his organs will be donated.