Iowa family speaks out against synthetic drugs

Posted March 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

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PHOTO: Mike and Jab Rozga of Indianola, Iowa, shared the touching story of their son David, who died at the age of 18. David took the synthetic drug K2, also known as Spice, and died within hours after shooting himself. The couple shared the dangers and unknowns of K2 with parents, grandparents, youth and community members. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

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PHOTO: Sheriff Deputy Brian Eckhardt shows parents the hidden dangers concerning drug use inside a typical teen’s bedroom. During the “Danger Hidden in Plain Sight” event held at the Jones County Youth Development Center, hosted by the JCSHY Coalition on March 12, over a hundred people came to hear from community leaders on the dangers of teen drug use.

 

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

The Rozga family from Indianola, Iowa, knows exactly how dangerous substances affect our youth. Jan and Mike Rozga’s 18-year-old son, David, was the perfect student in high school: He was on the honor roll. He was involved in athletics and other school activities. He was social and had many friends. But one error in judgment caused David his life.

Mike talked to a crowd of over 100 parents, grandparents, Jones County youth and community leaders about how K2, or Spice, affected their family. K2 is a synthetic drug. David tried K2 with his friends, and then said he needed to go home and lie down. An hour later, he shot himself. This was in June of 2010.

You can read all about the Rozga family and their son and brother’s story online at www.k2drugfacts.com.

After coming to the realization of what David got into and the affects and dangers of K2, in 2011, the Rozgas testified in front of Congress, speaking out against the use of synthetic drugs.

“We don’t know where K2 is made or how it’s manufactured,” warned Mike. “It’s up to the consumer.”

He said manufacturers are constantly changing the ingredients and compounds in K2 and other synthetic drugs, as well as the appearance and packaging to skirt the law. He said packing is meaningless because you can never identify what’s inside. He encouraged parents, grandparents, school officials and community leaders to do their homework and know what K2 and other synthetic drugs are out there and how kids/teens are getting their hands on such substances.

“Laws won’t keep these drugs off the streets,” warned Mike.

Drugs like K2 have different affects on everyone. Mike said his family has heard stories from others across Iowa and the U.S., testifying to the dangers of synthetic drugs. He said one minute you might be okay and the next, you could be suicidal like their son David.

“Different people react differently to substances,” Mike said.

There are short- and long-term affects as well.

Another common synthetic drug making a name for itself are bath salts. Mike made the disclaimer that these are not the typical bath salts people use in the bathtub.

“These are man-made stimulants that are readily available online,” he noted. “It’s synthetic cocaine and speed.

“It’s hard to understand how such substances can totally take over people’s minds,” Mike added.

He said it’s impossible to know what all of these dangerous drug substances contain. While the compounds may be legal, Mike said, “Legal does not mean safe!”

He said he and his wife would watch TV and see school violence on the news, shootings in communities across the country and “shake our heads and thank God we were not THAT family.

“On June 6, 2010, we were that family,” he said of his son’s death.

Mike and Jan Rozga have been quit proactive in speaking to the public at similar engagements like this. The evening’s theme “Danger Hidden in Plain Sight,” was hosted by the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition.

Aside from the Rozgas, Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver and Sheriff Deputy Brian Eckhardt set up a mock teenager’s bedroom scene and identified multiple hidden dangers associated with drug use inside the “room.” It was a shocking realization as to what everyday objects a teen/youth could use in connection with drugs.

For more information on the JCSHY Coalition, visit their website at http://jonescountycoalition.org.

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