North Shore teen dies after smoking synthetic marijuana - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

North Shore teen dies after smoking synthetic marijuana

Park where teen was found dead. (FOX 8 Photo) Park where teen was found dead. (FOX 8 Photo)
COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) -

In the small, picturesque public park at the end of Columbia Street in Covington, a teen lost his life.

“He and a friend were smoking mojo, and they both passed out. He passed out face-down in a puddle,” St. Tammany Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said. “He was taken to the hospital, and was unable to be resuscitated.”

Alexander Shelby was a senior at St. Paul’s school. He was just 17 years old. Preston said that’s what makes it such a tragedy, and he hopes it will be an eye-opener for other teens.

"Sadly, this isn’t the first mojo-related death we’ve had in the parish, and the message has got to get out that these synthetics are real dangerous drugs,” Preston said.

The synthetic marijuana can be purchased legally in some stores. Even though the state of Louisiana has banned several chemical compounds in the drug, manufacturers continue cooking up new and dangerous variations.

“A lot of kids think because they can buy them over the counter in head shops, that they are not toxic poison - but they are,” Preston said.

In Shelby’s case, Preston said the drug must have contained some type of sedative since he passed out. Every batch, though, is different.

“That’s why it’s not dose-related. The first dose can be the last dose,” Preston said.

Preston said there’s been at least one other death in the last few months associated with mojo. He believes now is the time for parents to talk to their children about the dangerous drug and to look for sings of drug use.

“The things that parents should be looking for is a change in our child’s behavior, drop in grades and missing school. Anything that makes the hair on the back of their necks stand up. They should feel free to talk to their children,” Preston said.

He said it’s about public safety and making everyone aware of a drug that’s destroying lives.

Preston said Shelby’s cause of death is not certain yet because the toxicology report isn’t complete. Still, he said the teen’s death is definitely associated with the synthetic drug.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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