13-Year-Old's Painful Death Proves Synthetic Pot Is Poison

pez dispensersKids aren't supposed to die, so any death of a 13-year-old would feel tragically senseless. But the recent loss of Pennsylvania eighth-grader Brandon Rice feels especially senseless because it was a brutally painful, prolonged passing caused by just one random act. One instance of bad adolescent judgment.

Like so many other kids his age, Brandon decided to experiment with a relatively new drug, which, at the time, was fairly easy to get: Synthetic pot. Brandon smoked the synthetic pot out of a plastic Pez dispenser.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law banning synthetic weed in Pennsylvania a few days after Brandon smoked it out of that Pez dispenser, but it was too late. Brandon's lungs were so damaged by the chemicals in the drug (compounded, I can only imagine, by whatever toxins a Pez dispenser releases when heated) that he was put on a respirator in June.

In September, he received a double-lung transplant.

Last week, he died.


Pointless, avoidable, tragic. Why should a child have to endure such horrific pain as a result of making one stupid mistake? It infuriates me, like in a shake my fists at the sky kind of way. It also makes me want to lock my children safely in a closet until they're 21. Or possibly forever.

One thing I don't understand is why anyone smokes synthetic pot in the first place. Please tell me it's not because this poison was (and in some places still is) legal and the real stuff isn't. I'm not advocating teenage pot-smoking of any kind, but I can say with some certainty that one bong hit of actual weed never resulted in a double-lung transplant.

My heart breaks for Brandon's mother. I can only hope and pray that what happened to Brandon never happens to another child.

Were you aware of the dangers of synthetic pot?


Image via Steven Higgins/Flickr

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