Mother Of Teen Who Died Seeks Ban On Dangerous ‘Potpourri’ Drug

AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — An Aurora mother is calling for a boycott of a drug sold as “potpourri,” a drug she says contributed to her son’s death.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, Karen Dobner says toxicology reports show that her 19-year old son Max was under the influence of a synthetic drug sold as potpourri the night he died.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

“I can’t get over the fact that my cautious, serious guy made such a big mistake,” Dobner said.

On June 14, Max Dobner died after the car he was driving flew off Mooseheart Road in North Aurora where it intersects with Route 31, and appears to have gone airborne into a one-story house. It was believed he was driving 100 miles per hour at the time. He died of blunt force trauma.

Hours before the crash, he’d told his older brother he and a friend had bought a product called IAroma at a tobacco shop at an Aurora mall.

“The tobacco shop where Max bought this drug is closed. Our goal is to shut down all businesses that sell this stuff. We need to protect our children,” Karen Dobner said.

As a result, Karen Dobner has formed the To The Maximus Foundation with the goals of: Education, Eradication, and Cooperation. She says she wants help other teens who think this drug is safe.

“Just because this is legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe, Max always wanted to do something to change the world. Maybe this is his way of doing that,” added Dobner.

The product is legally sold as potpourri, but authorities say it can cause hallucinations, rapid heartbeats and panic attacks. It is sold by the gram in smoke shops at the mall, in gas stations and online.

2 Investigator Dave Savini reported earlier this week that several Web sites are selling the product, including a Louisiana company called Domestic Oddities, which markets IAroma along with other brands.

The company is run by Eric Fontenelle, who is only 18. In a YouTube video, he claims his potpourri is euphoric and cause marijuana-like effects.

Fontenelle is part of a billion-dollar, unregulated industry. He claims he does not tell people to smoke his product, but in his video he says, “What you do with it is your own business.”

He also says Max Dobner must have smoked a copycat version of his product. Fontenelle says his product was not sold in Illinois and the product he now sells is free of anything harmful. He warns there are hundreds of copycat operations selling these products and have unknown ingredients.

In fact, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say when law enforcement tests and bans one of these types of products or synthetic form of marijuana, new ones show up on the market overnight.

“It’s a chemical compound, so they keep changing the chemicals trying to stay one step ahead of us,” says David Murphy from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Karen Dobner is pushing for legislation to ban the substance.

  • Randy

    Your kid died because he was an idiot drugs had nothing to do with it. you are chasing the wrong thing

  • Damien

    Very true Randy! If he had been drunk, would we have a a rush to ban all alcohol? It is unfortunate that her child died, be he died becuase of poor choices.

  • Hachipisali

    Grete Waitz the Norwegian runner who won nine, New York City Marathons and the Silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olymoics died in Oslo after a six-year-battle with cancer- she was 57. A former Oslo schoolteacher, Waitz won her first New York City Marathon in 1978.
    Maybe they should start thinking about putting a ban on those copycat Nathan’s all bbef weiners and it’s hotdog marathons, Hotdogs cause Cancer, and may lead to choaking, Fly high my freinds.

  • Dan

    Is she going to try and ban automobiles also because her idiot son was doing over 100mph….When are parents going to start putting the responsibility on their kids he is 18 and an adult….

    • Roberta Waker

      She is just trying to ease her conscience for not knowing what her son was doing. There will always be drugs for anyone stupid enough to smoke, inject, or take them illegally. His older brother should have said or done something, too, but he didn’t.

  • Seriously?

    How about a ban on stupid parents?

  • Jamie Lynn Barnes-Polk

    Yes this is traggic but the drug itself didn’t stop his heart the accident did. So should be ban cars i mean come on. We all know not to get behind the wheel when drinking, taking prescription drugs, street drugs ect. I am guilty of a DUI he probably felt invincible like most of us do.

  • jack

    Your kid obviously isn’t who you thought he was – tragic yes – fault belongs not on the stores not to sell things to your kid – it’s your job as parent to be aware of what he buy and does with those thing.

    Take some responsibility for educating your kid – it’s not the stores job to put up signs that say “your mom does not want you buying this”

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    “I can’t get over the fact that my cautious, serious guy made such a big mistake,” Dobner said.

    ‘On June 14, Max Dobner died after the car he was driving flew off Mooseheart Road in North Aurora where it intersects with Route 31, and appears to have gone airborne into a one-story house. It was believed he was driving 100 miles per hour at the time.’

    Sounds a little less than cautious. How about your son’s accountability for driving 100 MPH? How about him getting behind the wheel while impaired in the first place? Quit finding someone to blame other than Max Dobner.

    I’m sorry that he’s dead, and it is indeed sad, but sometimes people are to blame for their own demise.

    • Drew

      Precisely, to me the issue is that he was driving while using this ‘potpourri’ drug. If we are to assume that this drug does have marijuana like effects, then he should have known NOT TO DRIVE while using said drug. Whether the ‘potpourri’ should be legal or not is not the point.

      Simple rule everyone: If you are not in a condition to drive, whatever the cause, don’t drive, it will only end badly.

      • Roberta Waker

        Amen. Unfortunately they don’t THINK they are impaired so they drive anyway. Killing someone or getting killed yourself is a hard lesson for everyone involved.

  • Ban alcohol and cigarettes

    The fact that she lost a child is sad… However he was an idiot for driving under the influence. What if he had killed someone else? He is to blame for his actions not the “drug”. Blaming something or someone else will not bring him back or ease your pain.

  • Parent

    I had the ridiculous talk with my children about potpourri. I had no idea any of this was going on. I also added the story about a guy I knew in high school who was sniffing glue and getting dumber as the year went on.

  • Evergreen

    Refreshing at least, not one racist comment.

  • Roberta Waker

    While I feel bad for the parents; the brother should have said something when told his brother was going to smoke this “potpourri”. It was a stupid mistake; the same mistake many teens make when they want to get high – they will smoke anything they get their hands on. Parents need to know what their children are doing, where they are, and with whom. Educate yourselves, then educate your children so you don’t have to bury them before they bury you.

  • Mother Of Teen Who Died Seeks Ban On Dangerous 'Potpourri' Drug … « Teen Blog !!

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  • informed mom

    How come none of you get that this drug takes away your ability to make informed decisions. I think you all need to be more informed. Do your homework before you comment.

  • rochelle bound

    Agree with informed mom completely! This isn’t alcohol where we know what happens when you drink. This “potpourri ” affects everyone differently and can cause severe hallucinations and even seizures. And to all you people who say you need to know exactly where your child is and with who at all times is living in a dream world. You try your best as parent to keep track of them and help make the right decisons but you can’t always be with them and yes they do lie and make up stories. Please don’t blame the parent as I know her and she is as good of parent as anyone I know. If she can save even one kid from trying the fake pot then she has succeeded!

  • notasdumbasyouguys

    News Flash…..If you people were half as informed as you want everyone else to be you would know that people are smoking this stuff because they think that it’s safe or like marijuana. Most older people even believe that it’s safe because it’s legal. They have no clue that it causes paranoid delusions and hallucinations. Common comment from people after a horrible experience with it: “It was the worst mistake of my life” or “It was the worst experience of my entire life.” So, these hallucinating people shouldn’t get behind the wheel? Really???!!! OK, you tell them that!!! Dahhh!!!

  • Lauren

    Everybody who had something negative to say is in the wrong. You don’t comment on such a sensitive topic with such words as “idiot”. Is that all your people have to say? I doubt any of you who commented on it like that even knew him. If the drug was not on the market, then there wouldn’t even be the easy opportunity to get this product. So I agree with this cause. It shouldn’t be sold. As for everyone posting rude comments…stop being disrespectful to the family and friends of Max.

  • Wishing to reverse time

    For any of you that think if someone dies from their own hand that it is their responsibility. For those of you who think family and friends are responsible. I can understand your comments because you are innocent of knowing a great loss. When you have a loss like this, every minute of the day is spent on going through the “what if’s”, did they know how much I loved them, thinking to yourself the last words spoken to each other, The guilt is unbearable. Realizing, you will never see them. Then you realize that your loved one “ will never know”, sets in, they will never know or experience adulthood, whether it be having a child of their own, going to college, travel with friends, something as simple as they never got to go see their favorite Band or seeing a favorite TV show. That his brother will not be there to reminisce about the things they did together that only siblings can experience together. The hole you feel in your heart is so big; you feel it will never be closed. Your life and everything you thought you knew is now altered forever, it will never be the same. Feeling this, will last a life time. If you have a great loss it only gets easier to disguise it for other people. For any of you who think they are responsible enough to make choices about yourself on what you do, please don’t be selfish; think what it will do to your family and friends first. If you love anyone, think! Life may go on, the hole in your heart will get smaller, but it will never close. There is never a day that you will not think of this person. Ignorance is bliss until it happens to you. This Family is no longer ignorant of great loss and heartache. They are just trying to bring awareness to others; maybe these packages should say WARNING: Many lives may be altered if you use this product. I can only hope those of you who see this will look at themselves and the people around you, let them know if they were gone, how it would change your life forever.

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