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Warning teens of drug dangers

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Two teens read aloud letters about the guilt and sadness they’ve felt since a friend of theirs died of an overdose the night they all decided to try a new synthetic drug.

The two boys had been with Samuel Motsay, a 16-year-old Center Grove High School student, the night he died. All three of them tried a new synthetic drug called 25I-NBOMe, or N-Bomb, in May. Motsay’s two friends found him the next morning after he had died. They called 911, but Motsay had been dead too long to be revived.

One of Motsay’s friends apologized for not being someone who made good decisions, and who encouraged Motsay to do the same. The second friend, Ross Williams, said that he missed and loved his friend.

The boys read letters they’d written to Motsay after his death to a crowd of about 100 parents, teens, school officials and law enforcement officers who attended a forum meant to start a community conversation about N-Bomb and other drugs. The forum, which had speakers including Motsay’s mother, a representative from the Drug Enforcement Administration and State Sen. Jim Merritt, was arranged shortly after Motsay died.

Law enforcement officials also wanted the forum to coincide with the start of the school year so that school officials and students could learn about the dangers of synthetic drugs, and how popular the drugs are becoming among teens, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.

Forty years ago, the most popular drugs included marijuana, cocaine and heroin. But now, synthetic drugs, such as Spice, bath salts and N-Bomb, are becoming more popular, DEA Assistant Supervising Agent in Charge Dennis Wichern said.

“We wish it wasn’t necessary to have this forum,” Cox said. “We just don’t want to have to make any more of these (death) notifications.”

After the forum, Williams said that the three boys thought they were buying LSD.

Instead, they were given N-Bomb, which can kill someone the first time they use it, officials said. Williams decided to share his feelings about his friend so that another family wouldn’t wake up to find that their child has died.

Motsay’s mother, Jeanine Motsay, also read a letter she wanted her son to have. Her voice often cracked as she read about how much she and the rest of her family miss Motsay.

Jeanine Motsay also doesn’t believe her son would have taken the drug if he’d known how lethal it can be.

“Had you been informed, I know you never would have chosen to put that poison into your system,” she said.

Wichern informed the crowd about what the Drug Enforcement Administration has learned about the drug. N-Bomb can be up to 60 times stronger than LSD. Between March 2012 and August 2013, 19 people between 15 and 29 years old have died after taking the drug, Wichern said.

Local police knew almost nothing about N-Bomb before Motsay’s death, and investigators needed the lab at the Indiana State Police to confirm what drug he had taken.

N-Bomb is absorbed through the tongue with blotter paper, which is typically colorful and can have pictures of cartoon characters, making it more marketable to teens and young adults, Wichern said.

State lawmakers are making plans to introduce a bill that would make the penalties for possessing and selling synthetic drugs identical to their counterparts, such as marijuana and cocaine, Merritt said.

But it’s also crucial that parents spend more time talking with kids of all ages about the dangers of all drugs, and that teens think more about the consequences of their actions, Merritt said.

“We just need to make good decisions,” Merritt said. “If it seems wrong, it is wrong.”

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