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