A Bellevue teenager loses his life and his family believes a synthetic drug is responsible. Now that family is taking action to hopefully save other families from dealing with the same tragedy.
“It’s been a struggle since I lost my little brother. It’s been an even worse struggle for my mother who lost a child and my father who lost a child. I speak for them too, they don’t want anyone else to go through what we’ve gone through as a family,” said Michael Smith.
It’s been a tough five months for Smith and his family after losing his brother Tyler Smith. The Bellevue teen took his life back in September and his family believes K2 was responsible. “I think that he was under the influence of the drug and I don't believe he would have taken his life if he wasn't under it,” said Smith.
While the chemical makeup of K2 is currently illegal, similar synthetic drugs are not, meaning people can buy them in gas stations or convenience stores. As quickly as lawmakers pass a law to ban the substance the sellers come up with something similar and put it on the shelves.
“What they are doing is they will change the combinations up, take something out, add something in, and call it something different,” said Smith. The Smith family wants to stop that, so they are pushing for what they call Tyler’s Law. It would ban all synthetic drugs. The bill will go to a vote in the capitol on Thursday, a vote that means so much to this family.
“We found a couple of weeks after his passing he wrote on twitter he wanted to be someone that would change the world which is kind of ironic,” said Smith. It’s ironic because the family says out of their tragedy will hopefully come change.
Smith says the family has also been approached on a national level and they are hoping to be able to make this into a federal law.
The family has also created what they call the Tyler Smith Purple Project. They plan to start going into schools to talk to other teens about the misconception of synthetic drugs. Smith said many teens think the drugs are “organic” or a similar makeup as marijuana, but they can actually have severe or even deadly side effects.