Their hearts are filled with regret.
For four of the 10 who survived overdosing a synthetic drug at a party in Blaine last spring, the past nine months have been a painful mixture of nightmarish memories and grief over the loss of 19-year-old Trevor Robinson, whom they watched struggle before he died in the hospital hours later.
Like so many other synthetic drugs hurting users across the country, the powder snorted at the party in March, 2C-E, was bought off the Internet. There, and in some stores, synthetic substances are touted as legal alternatives to cocaine, marijuana and other drugs.
Many states have since banned common chemicals used in the drugs, but products containing slightly different chemicals are still available. Authorities struggle to keep up.
Four at the Blaine party agreed to share their experiences and warnings about the drugs, hoping to prevent others from a terrible fate.
JESSE FISHER, 17
'IT WAS, LIKE, THE SCARIEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE'
On the night unraveling:
“My plan for that night was me and two buddies drinking beers at my house. If I could go back I would have just kept it at that, not let people talk me into having more people come over. Not letting that situation happen.”
“I even told them, ‘I’m drinking tonight. I don’t wanna do it. Don’t come here.’”
“It was brought out instantly … it was already out on the table, like, people doing it without my control. I was just like ‘Hey, everyone else is gonna do it, I might as well,’ and I was not in a perfect state of mind because I was drinking.”
On the drug’s effects:
“It was, like, the scariest experience of my life.”
“The pain was excruciating. It felt like I got kicked in the face by a horse. My brain felt like it was melting. It was so excruciating and painful, I couldn’t even talk. All I could do is scream, grab my head and roll around on the floor.”
“I was sweating so much ... I laid in the snowbank and you could, like, almost hear a sizzle.”
“Everyone loved Trevor. I didn’t know one person who hated him.”
“It was a terrible loss. ... Having it happen firsthand, in front of me, was just terrible.”
“He was pretty much just, like, seizuring standing up, then falling down and then trying to stand back
up and just flailing.”
On the lesson learned:
“It’s not worth it at all. ... Don’t snort anything. Don’t smoke anything. Just stay away from that stuff.”
“It sobered me up completely. I don’t do anything anymore. ... I don’t even drink anymore. ... I got my life on track.”
“I want to change myself and try to be the best from this and, like, not have Trevor’s death in vain.”
“It didn’t take much to end his life. It doesn’t take much of anything, really, it’s just how your body reacts to it. ... Any amount can kill you.”
JAKE KRUSE, 20
' I DON'T TOUCH DRUGS LIKE THAT ANYMORE'
On the dangers of drugs:
“I’m not gonna tell people not to do drugs because they’re not gonna listen to that.”
“I would say don’t take too many chances because you never know which use will be your last, like we all found out that night: It did take somebody’s life, and that can actually happen to anybody.”
“It could have been all of us, too, not just one person. All of us could have died that night.”
On the night in Blaine:
“It really has made me grow up a lot.”
“I need to get my life more on track than it is. You know, I can’t be dabbling in this stuff. I can’t be living in this stuff. It’s time to actually do what I should be doing, not goofing around with this [stuff], because, I mean, it kills, and if it doesn’t kill you it can really screw you up.”
“I don’t touch drugs like that anymore and I won’t ever.”
On designer synthetic drugs:
“The biggest thing with synthetic drugs is you never know what you’re gonna get. Ever. Somebody may tell you, hey, this powder is 2C-E. In reality that powder could be anywhere from 2C-E, 2C-I, 2C-B, to a bunch of household chemicals mixed together.”
“How are you going to trust a powder that you order online to be something when you have no clue? You don’t know who you’re getting it from. You don’t know where it’s coming from. How are you gonna tell me that it is what it is? It could be salt for all you know, so just don’t trust it.”
KATRINA LOOMIS, 20
'THAT'S WHAT DYING WOULD PROBABLY FEEL LIKE'
On taking the drug:
“I didn’t want to do it at all. ... I should have just gone with my first instinct of not to do something like that. But then it was like everybody else was doing it ... a bunch of my really good friends are doing it, I guess I’ll try it or whatever.”
“We didn’t know anything about it. We were just, like, taking other people’s words for it. We didn’t have our own knowledge about it really, which is stupid, too, because we didn’t even know where it came from, like, anybody could have put anything in it, any kind of poison.”
“Honestly, like, I think that’s what dying would probably feel like.”
“I was just thinking about all the stuff that I haven’t done yet. I haven’t gone to college, like, finished college. I haven’t had kids. I haven’t gotten married. ... Having all that taken away from you ... knowing there was nothing I could do to take it back and just being stuck like that.”
“I would never touch another drug.”
On Trevor, in the hospital down the hall from her:
“They had to keep reviving him.”
“They started wheeling machines past my room and stuff and I just knew they were his. ... They wheeled a bed past my room with a body bag on it or something and that’s, like, all I remember the most.”
On lasting effects:
“I think about it every day, all the time. Constantly, probably.”
“Any of us could have stopped that from happening and none of us did. ... If we would have just been smarter and thought about what we were doing before we did it, like, we would still have had our friend here.”
“It makes you really think about life and, like, appreciate it and realize that, how lucky you are to be alive every day and do everything that you get to do.”
A.J. CARVER, 17
'I REALLY WISH I COULD TAKE THAT NIGHT BACK'
On taking the drug:
“It feels like a bullet’s going through your nostril.”
“Walls were kind of leaking. ... Everything was moving. ... I thought I was in a dream. ... I completely lost my mind.”
“I don’t know how I made it through that night, that’s how scary it was.”
On losing a friend:
“I’ve known Trevor since I was 8 years old ... one of those people that always has something good to say about the worst situation possible ... the best friend that you need on a pretty crappy day. He always lightened the mood. The second he walked in, like, things would be better.”
“Why would he die out of all of us? We all did, like, the same amount. I don’t know, it just, it freaks me out how any split second someone could be gone just because of a stupid decision.”
On the lasting effects:
“I go to therapy twice a week just to try and deal with it. ... Reliving it every single night is terrifying.”
“Now I’m cautious about every little choice that I make and I have anxiety all the time and I’m constantly thinking about what happened and the littlest things will make my heart race. ... I really wish I could take that night back because it messed me up pretty bad.”
On drug use:
“I kind of deleted my face off Earth from anybody that was at that party or anybody that ever really talked to Trevor because seeing them and talking to them and knowing that if they do drugs still or anything like that, it, like , breaks my heart and I just wanna shake them and say 'Stop.’”
“If people are talking about tripping I get super mad and, like, all anxious about it, like 'Why are you doing that? I told you a million times what happened to me. Why would you tell me you’re gonna go and do that? What’s wrong with you?’”