Devin and Veronica Eckhardt’s lives changed forever when their only son, Connor, died unexpectedly after smoking synthetic marijuana. According to Fox-11, the 19-year-0ld’s shocking death made national headlines because his life took a fatal turn after inhaling only one hit of the dried herbs that had been laced and saturated in chemicals to create a pot-like euphoria. Connor quickly fell into a comatose state and suffered brain swelling. On July 11, he was declared brain dead.
Now, his parents are sharing their disheartening story with the world in hopes of raising awareness about the dangers of synthetic marijuana.
For those who aren’t familiar with the commercialized version of cannabis, it’s a man-made designer drug sprayed with lab-synthesized chemicals, according to Drugs.com. Side effects include intense hallucinations, psychotic episodes, seizures and a fast, racing heartbeat.
According to the Los Angeles Times, synthetic forms of marijuana known as Spice, K2, Marley, Fake Pot and Scooby Snax can actually be purchased in local convenience stores and on the Internet because they’re marketed as “herbal incense.”
These drugs can reportedly be up to 1,000 times stronger than organic marijuana. So, the risk factors are heightened — which is why Devin Eckhardt wants the world to know of the possible dangers and side effects.
On Monday, Nov. 3, Connor’s father posted a video message on his son’s Facebook page. In the six-minute video, Devin is having a heartfelt conversation with his son while visiting his grave. He spoke candidly about how the devastating loss has effected their family. He went on to warn of the dangers of inhaling synthetic marijuana because he doesn’t want anyone to experience the grief and heartache his family is feeling right now.
Here’s what he had to say during the heartbreaking clip:
“I’m standing here at your graveside, Connor, and I can’t believe this is true. I look at this stone and I see your name on it, and I just think, ‘This can’t be where things are, this can’t be my life,’ and at any minute you’re gonna call, or you’re gonna come bounding up on you skateboard with that chuckle in your laugh and that this nightmare will end.”
“And I know you’re not here, I know you’re with Jesus, and I think that’s the only reason we can go on and yet, I got a massive hole in my heart cause I miss you so much. But one hit of Spice and it changed everything, not just for you but for us, for you mom and your sisters. It’s the worst nightmare ever.”
“‘If you think Spice and synthetics are some okay kind of drug, somehow this won’t happen to you, don’t fool yourself. We have to take a stand. We got to change things. This shouldn’t be. Our lives are forever changed. Don’t let what happened to us happen to you.”
His parents have vowed to continue their efforts to raise awareness with the hope of saving lives. For more news updates and information, check out the family’s website, The Connor Project: Forever Changed.
[Image(s) via Wikimedia Commons, Facebook, Connor Reid Eckhardt]