February 19, 2016 11:25 pm

One dose teen death raises flag over synthetic drugs

WATCH ABOVE: The death of 17-year-old Tara Fitzgerald has brought to light the dangers lurking with synthetic drugs. NBC Dateline's Kate Snow reports.


The death of 17-year-old Tara Fitzgerald has brought to light a problem most parents have never even heard of. Synthetic drugs. While most parents worry about their teenagers using drugs, most aren’t aware how dangerous some synthetic drugs posing as real ones can be.

As NBC Dateline’s Kate Snow reports, Fitzgerald was an honour roll student who lived in Washington County, Minnesota and who told friends she wanted to try the drug LSD.

But what she ended up taking wasn’t the known drug LSD, but a synthetic form known as 25-I.

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Fitzgerald took the drug during a sleepover with a friend at her house. One small dosage on January 11, 2014 and hours later the perfectly healthy teen was dead.

“She assured me it’s not dangerous and I didn’t know anything about it so I assumed that she must be doing her research on it,” Tara’s friend Jessie told Dateline NBC.

“She had this high level of this drug 25-I in her system,” Tara’s father Tom Fitzgerald told Dateline NBC. ”Never heard of it. And I’m sure Tara hadn’t either.”

According to the report, most synthetic drugs come from China where it’s largely legal to produce and sell them.

Some synthetic drugs are sold in convenience stores while others are sold on the illegal market and are said to be something else.

Officials investigating synthetic drugs say that they’re much more potent than their actual counterparts and can be easily purchased online.

“Extremely easy. A couple of clicks and it’s on the way,” Chuck Rosenberg, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said about the availability of purchasing the chemicals.

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