13-year-old boy hallucinates, taken to hospital after using synthetic marijuana

A 13-year-old boy is the latest person to experience the dangerous effects of synthetic marijuana. While police have become very familiar with synthetic drugs, some neighborhood stores continue to sell these drugs behind the counter.

The teenage user was seen running away from an apartment complex just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday before an ambulance arrived at to the 2400 block of Andrew Avenue, in LaPorte. According to police, the boy was barefoot and dealing with hallucinations. He was located a few blocks away and had to be transported to IU Health LaPorte.

“The 13-year-old had smoked synthetic marijuana and his heart was racing,” said Capt. Tom Heath, from the LaPorte Police Department.

While the synthetic drug may look very similar to marijuana, police warn its effects can surprise users.

“This is not just simply components of marijuana,” said Capt. Phil Trent, South Bend Police. “This is something laboratory synthesized. If somebody can mix this in high concentrations, the result can be widely divergent from just smoking marijuana.”

In South Bend, the sale of synthetic marijuana continues to be a problem.
“It’s fairly prevalent in neighborhood mini-marts,” Trent said.

One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, tells Newscenter 16 he first had to befriend the store clerks at a South Bend food store before they sold him synthetic marijuana. He was able to purchase three grams of the drug for $15. He said he later experienced violent hallucinations and felt he was a danger to those around him.

Police have raided stores in the past after receiving tips and carrying out undercover operations.

Now, investigators know synthetic marijuana is being sold, and made, right here in Michiana.

“We’ve determined that there are individuals locally that are actually mixing up the components on a local setting,” Trent said. “This is not being pre-packaged far, far away.”


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