By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News
Monday, November 14, 2011 at 11:20 am
|Brandon Rice, 14, died last month, four months after destroying his lungs by smoking Spice through a plastic PEZ candy dispenser.|
As tragic as the story is -- and as bad an idea it is to smoke fake pot -- the eighth grader's death was not, as widely reported, due to chemical burns on his lungs from smoking fake marijuana. It was due to the fact that he smoked the 'Spice' out of a plastic PEZ candy dispenser, which partially melted and coated his lungs with toxic chemicals, as reported more than two weeks ago by Lucy Steigerwald at Reason.
Brandon died from an infection after the double lung transplant procedure -- and the immune-system suppressants intended to avoid rejection of the new organs -- severely weakened his immune system.
This story is one of those that just keeps cropping up again and again; its sensational and tragic nature has kept it alive on Facebook and other social networks, and the misinformation continues to spread.
That's why Toke of the Town finds it necessary, at this late date, to point out what actually happened.
Many official (and misleading) accounts of the incident mirrored this one on WPXI.com:
The boy smoked the fake marijuana out of a plastic PEZ candy dispenser and suffered chemical burns to both lungs as a result. He was put on a respirator in June and had a double-lung transplant in September.
Plenty of other accounts, such as this particularly bad one from August on KDKA, never even mention the fact that young Brandon's lung troubles were due to inhaling toxic fumes from melting plastic.
But, as reported by Richard Gazarik at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, here's what really happened:
Dr. J. Douglas Bricker, dean of Duquesne University's Mylan School of Pharmacy, said that although he doesn't underestimate the danger of the ingredients in the man-made designer drug, smoking synthetic marijuana in a plastic PEZ dispenser would have been a "significant factor" in Brandon's death."It's (the drug) fairly potent, but nothing in the literature has been shown to cause any lung toxicity," he said. But Bricker said plastic -- such as that found in the candy dispenser -- heated at high temperatures will release highly toxic cyanide gas and carbon monoxide.
"Weirdly enough, these ... paragraphs are near the bottom of the longer story which has a lede that still vaguely describes the death as being from "a double-lung transplant after synthetic marijuana smoked in a PEZ candy dispenser destroyed his lungs."
You'd think that the information about what actually killed the boy would be considered lede material, for the top of the story, rather than the concluding paragraphs.
In any event, once again: This garbage they call "synthetic marijuana" is NOT worth your time, and it is NOT as safe as real cannabis.
But it also will NOT burn your lungs out and make a double lung transplant necessary -- unless you smoke it through a plastic pipe.