Snorting ‘potpourri’ nearly kills Des Allemands teen

Same product has been linked to 2 Louisiana suicides

December 17, 2010 at 11:35 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A Des Allemands mother says her son is lucky to be alive after he snorted a synthetic chemical that is legally sold to anyone in several convenience stores and smoke shops across the state.

The product, which is listed under many names including “Cloud Nine” and “White Dove,” is sold as a potpourri but narcotics investigators say it is a deadly and dangerous hallucinogenic speed when ingested.

“The manufacturers know it’s not a potpourri. Our kids know it’s not a potpourri. And we know of two deaths that have been caused by Cloud Nine. Two suicides.” said St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed in a WWLTV online article.

The Des Allemands mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said her son was given the substance by a family member and snorted it. The boy ingested the product a day before his 17th birthday.

“He came home and right away I could tell that something wasn’t right,” the mother said. “He could barely talk and he had a dead stare. His eyes were black and he couldn’t keep still...he kept grabbing at his chest.”

After noticing her son’s severe reactions, the mother took him to Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital in Raceland. She said that he was immediately hooked up to an EKG and that his heart rate was jumping between 60 beats per minute to 140 beats per minute.

“It was constantly running back and forth,” the mother said. “They had to give him a shot to stabilize him.”

Many hardcore drug abusers have reported similar experiences, saying the “potpourri”  is the worst drug they’ve ever had, and that its effects can last for as long as six days.

When her son returned home from the hospital, the mother said it took three days for the substance to get out of his system.

“Two days after it happened he still wasn’t blinking and he had that blank stare,” the mother said. “A police officer came over to speak to him at the house and told me that my son looked like he was still comatose.

“This was two days after he ingested that horrible stuff.”

When her son began to come down off the substance, the mother said it resembled someone coming off of heroin.
“He just cried and cried and kept screaming out in pain,” she said. “He kept grabbing his head and saying that he couldn’t think right.”

While the Des Allemands teen’s experience was a terrifying one, authorities say two other Louisiana residents have lost their lives after ingesting the product and committing suicide.

In one incident earlier this year, a teen reportedly snorted some and hallucinated that Army soldiers were marching on his home.

Authorities say he then fatally shot himself with a rifle.

Capt. Pat Yoes, a spokesman with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, said he is only aware of one serious case in the parish but that the products should be avoided.

“This stuff is not intended for human consumption, it says so on the package,” he said. “But you have kids that are experimenting with it.

“No one should be selling these products to kids and they can be extremely dangerous if ingested.”

The anonymous mother hopes that her son’s tale will help save lives.

“This product should not be sold at all and I am going to do everything I can to get it off the shelves,” she said. “Parents need to be aware of how dangerous this stuff is. My son is lucky to be alive and the doctor told him that if I hadn’t brought him to emergency room, he might not have made it.

“How many lives is it going to take before this is pulled off shelves?”

Packages of White Dove and Cloud Nine cost around $20 and began appearing in stores soon after other incense products, which mimicked a marijuana high, were made illegal.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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