Criminal Justice

Death Investigation Involves New-form LSD

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July 2, 2013 — The Porter County, Indiana Sheriff is investigating a drug case to determine if synthetic lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is connected to a Wheeler High School teenager’s fatal heart attack.

Sheriff Dave Lain thinks a new form of LSD, or “acid,” is involved in the Union Township death of 17-year-old Cody Riffett.

Lain says Riffett died Tuesday, June 25, 2013, of cardiac arrest after using LSD. Two witnesses say he got the drug from 18-year-old Jeffrie Crucean, also of Union Township. Police had been investigating Crucean for the sale of illegal drugs in an undercover task force drug buy and eventually charged him with a class D felony in that case. Lain says the witnesses saw Riffett hallucinate, and neighbors saw him appear to choke a tree during a psychotic episode including convulsions.

Sheriff Lain spoke with Lakeshore’s Jodi Juhl about the growing and dangerous popularity of the synthetic drug LSD.

Jodi Juhl: “Ok, they’re calling this synthetic LSD. Help me understand that. First, why synthetic instead of real; it is cheaper? Is it a better high? What’s the appeal?

Sheriff Dave Lain: Well, I think availability and price are factors. Don’t see much genuine LSD. This is the new designer drug. We’ve seen synthetic marijuana, the spice, bath salts, these are all new chemical compounds that are being supplied to our young people, and in this case we think the users get raw materials, LSD, and in this case spraying it on paper and when it dries it becomes the hallucinogenic, and it’s extremely dangerous because nobody really knows exactly what it’s made of.

Jodi: Is this becoming the new drug of choice? He was 17 years old, is this something you’re anticipating a potentially growing problem or more isolated?

Sheriff Lain: Well, that’s a question mark at this point, since we know it exists in the area. We have some concern it is gaining popularity. It just may be the newest thing kids are willing to try because they haven’t tried it, regardless of danger warnings, like the person that tries heroin for the first time doesn’t believe they’ll be addicted for life.

Jodi: Is this a fast addiction, like heroin, addictive overnight?

Sheriff Lain: We don’t know because it’s so new. Sometimes chemical compounds change to sidestep laws, but we haven’t seen it long enough to see “what that addiction may look like.”

Sheriff Lain says police believe drugs are the root of Riffett’s cardiac arrest, but for now no charges have been filed related to Riffett’s case. He says synthetic LSD is surfacing more often in the region, and he says parents should be worried.

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