California teenager Connor Eckhardt slipped into a coma after taking one drag, or “hit,” of synthetic marijuana. The drug, which is sold under brand names like K2 and Spice, and can be purchased online and in various shops, though its sale is illegal in California. After inhaling the chemically-sprayed herbs, oxygen supply was cut off to Connor’s brain. He drifted into a sleep he would never wake up from.
The Eckhardts during happier times.
After the doctors at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach declared Connor brain dead, his family said their goodbyes and honored the 19-year-old’s wish to become an organ donor. Thanks to his family, the patients receiving Connor’s vital organs will not be the only people whose lives he’ll save. Through the Facebook page they created after Connor’s death, they have been using their tragedy to educate others about the dangers of using synthetic marijuana.
The family gathered by Connor’s hospital bed.
Despite its name, synthetic marijuana has very little in common with regular marijuana. While it’s designed to to mimic tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the potent chemical found in marijuana, the differences necessary for it to skirt many anti-drug laws gives its users a greater chance of having a harmful reaction to the substance.
Connor Eckhardt, 1994-2014
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