ARLINGTON -- Cooper Brown, the father of a North Texas teenager, has an urgent message for anyone thinking about trying K2, otherwise known as "spice" or synthetic marijuana.
“You are an idiot! You are an idiot if you want to do this," he said. "I mean, I can tell you firsthand -- this is something you just don’t want to do.”
Brown says his 17-year-old daughter, Shelby, has a past that includes marijuana, heroin, and meth, but that K2 “is something that is just a different animal completely." He said her use of K2 has been her most regretful decision yet; that on her way to the hospital after smoking it, she insisted she would never smoke it again.
In early May, Brown said his daughter was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth in really bad shape.
“I was just shocked," he said. "I just couldn’t believe it, because my daughter, I mean, you look in her eyes and it’s not her. It’s just not her.”
Now, 10 days later, he said Shelby is exhibiting "schizophrenic" behavior. He says she’s delusional and hearing voices, and that he was told it was a "substance-induced psychotic state."
It sounds similar to what some experts call "spiceophrenia," a condition caused by the use of synthetic marijuana that mimics some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.
The situation takes a tremendous toll on the whole family.
“It’s really hard to digest because, you know, your daughter and how gorgeous she is... And I just can’t understand it," Mr. Brown said. "I just can’t wrap my mind around that -- this is how she is." And there’s no definitive information for how long she’ll remain that way.
Brown said his daughter is very slowly getting better. As she struggles to recover, Brown is going public with this very personal tragedy in hopes of preventing someone else's family from going through this.
“You just want to tell parents - you want to beat them in the head and tell them - 'Look, watch your children. You’ve got to watch what they’re doing,'" he said. "'Please watch them, because you don’t want to go through this. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.'”