Synthetic marijuana use causes death

Mother raises awareness over son's death

OILDALE, Calif. - A mother contacted 23 ABC saying her son died from synthetic marijuana use earlier this year and wanted to share her story to help others.

August 11th is a day Opal Cook will never forget.

"I came home at 3:45 and found my son dead," said Cook.

Justin Cook died just weeks before his 23rd birthday.

"As a mother, I can't bring back my son, but I can tell my story.  I may be able to save another child or maybe five more kids or parents from the hardship of losing a child," said Cook.

Justin had an addiction to spice for about two years. His mom begged and pleaded with him to stop the drug use.

"I tried to get him to rehab. I tried to get him to go to counseling. He kept saying, 'I'm not addicted, I'm OK, I'm not going to die from it.' Well, now he is dead from it," said Cook.

That death is something she said no parent should ever have to experience. Now she is making it her mission to warn others about the dangers of synthetic marijuana.

"It's a chemical drug; it's mixed with so many chemicals, including pesticides. You don't know what you are putting in your body. You are putting poisons in your body," said Cook.

The Kern County Coroner's Office said that Cook died suddenly from lethal exposure to synthetic cannabinoid.

The sale of synthetic cannabinoid, also known as spice, is banned in Kern County. However Cook said it's not hard to find a store willing to sell it illegally. Now she plans to protest those businesses.

"Once I get a copy of the death certificate, I am going take that along with a picture of my son and go to every cigarette store in Bakersfield that sells it and say, this killed my son," said Cook.


Print this article Back to Top