Parents applaud synthetic drug law named after late son - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Parents applaud synthetic drug law named after late son

Landon Letsinger died after his first time trying synthetic drugs. Landon Letsinger died after his first time trying synthetic drugs.
MUSCLE SHOALS, AL (WAFF) -

The statewide crackdown on synthetic drugs, dubbed Operation Red Tide, comes in conjunction with a new law in Alabama that enforces tough restrictions on the substances and aims to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

The law is named after Landon Letsinger, a Muscle Shoals teen who died last year after taking synthetic drugs for the first time. It bans dozens of new synthetic drug recipes and those that are similar to it.

They say time heals everything, but as the month of June approaches, it's a harsh reminder for Juli and Chris Letsinger of that horrible night one year ago, when they lost their son Landon to a deadly dose of synthetic drugs.

"It's been very difficult. It's been hard to find a reason to want to keep going and keep living," said Juli.

Landon was just 17 at the time, a rising senior at Muscle Shoals High School and an avid soccer player.

 "It was a one-time thing," said Juli. "Landon was not a drug user. But a person gave him something that turned out to be deadly."

The drug caused him to stop breathing, and his brain to swell. There was nothing doctors could do to save him. Now his family lives with the pain of his loss each day.

But there is a small silver lining. A new law named after Landon cracks down on synthetic drugs in the state. It's one of the strictest in the country, and one that Alabama lawmakers believe other states will model their own laws after.

It was seen in action Wednesday during Operation Red Tide, and put dozens behind bars.

"This is not the end-all, be-all, but it's a lot better than it was," said Chris.

It may not bring back their son, but it does give the Letsingers a way to carry on his memory.

"It's very sad that we have to be the ones that have gone through this, but we don't want anyone else to have to live through what we have lived through," said Juli. "It could save some families the pain of what we have lived through, then that would be something good that has come out of something so tragic."

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, synthetic cannabinoids were involved in more than 11,000 ER visits in 2010. One-third of those patients were aged 12-17.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved. 

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