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Parents want student's drug death to be a lesson

Family photo of Meghan Lopez Family photo of Meghan Lopez

Slidell, La. - Last Memorial Day weekend, Meghan Lopez and her mom took a cruise.

"She told me that she had heard from too many people that life was too short and she was going to live it to the fullest extent," says Dena Lopez.

Less than a year later, Meghan's life would be cut short. Her parents say the 21-year-old woman took a synthetic drug called 2C-I, also known by other names including N-Bomb and C-Boom.

She began having seizures almost immediately and by the time her parents reached the emergency room, doctors said Meghan had suffered irreversible brain damage.

"There was no response the whole night," says Lopez. "We were up with her and we had to make the call. The doctors assured us that she had a very, very serious reaction to this drug and it didn't appear that she was going to come out of it."

Investigators on the North Shore think it's a growing problem. St. Tammany deputies and Slidell police responded to five calls just last week involving the synthetic drug.

The people who took it turned violent. In one case, Slidell Police found two young men on a front lawn. One was passed out, the other on top of him, pulling out his hair.

"It took a whole police shift basically to subdue them," says Slidell Police Captain Kevin Swann. "What alarms us is that one of the kids on the way to the hospital actually coded and had to be revived and put on a vent."

State lawmakers know 2C-I is a problem. It's included in a new list of synthetic drugs banned by House Bill 10, which Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law Thursday.

St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain says his office is investigating the source of the drugs. "We believe that it is basically coming here via the Internet," he says. "We believe that at this point, the best tool that we have combating this particular drug is public education."

That's why Meghan Lopez's parents want to share her story: a graduate with honors of Covington High, a sociology student at Southeastern, dead from one drop of a synthetic drug.

"She thought this was merely a casual, recreational thing," says Lopez. "All the kids tend to minimize it.  This one's lethal."

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