Dakota Dyer was full of life and promise according to his mom. But Deanna and Lance Dyer's lives were shattered when they came home to find their youngest child and only son had shot himself.
A review of the 14-year-old`s Facebook posts and text messages show Dakota was planning to try synthetic marijuana just days before he died.
“When you can have a normal, happy, popular, loved life child die and within hours just change his perception of the world?” says Deanna Dyer, the victim’s mother.
The Dyers are just one of dozens of parents whose children have died or were seriously harmed after using some form of a synthetic drug.
“The drug can act differently with different people. One person can take it and they are OK. Another person can take the exact same drug and they have a psychotic episode and can`t deal with reality,” says Deanna Dyer, victim`s mother.
This so-called fake pot is created with various chemical compounds and is designed to mimic the effects of marijuana. Officials say it is commonly marketed under names like K2 or Bob's Bud.
The drugs marketed over the internet and social media come in colorful packaging adorned with cartoons and sometime labeled as incense. Many parents have no idea what their kids are buying.
“After the loss of my son, I would definitely, definitely, even though I didn`t have a reason to, I would monitor. Monitor cell phone activity, monitor social media,” says Dyer.
U.S. postal inspectors say they are seeing more of these cases as children purchase the drugs over the internet and receive them in the mail.
“Don`t assume that that is not a dangerous substance. In the end, it is likely to be chemicals imported from China to people who have no idea what the substances are and you have no idea what these chemicals will be when they are ingested into your body,” says John Bailey, US Postal Inspector.
The people who make this stuff are constantly coming up with new chemical formulas to circumvent federal and state laws banning specific ingredients used to make synthetic drugs.
A NewsChannel 3 investigation revealed the problem last year, and now new state laws are helping to close that gap. The Dyer family is pushing for passage of a federal law to outlaw all forms of synthetic pot and prosecute those who manufacture the drugs.