Bill Could Ban Synthetic Drugs in Nebraska

Meghan McRoberts


Nebraska state lawmakers heard testimony Thursday for and against a bill that would ban the chemicals used to make synthetic drugs in Nebraska.

One Bellevue family knows first hand the dangers of the drug.

Kali Smith's son, Tyler, killed himself after taking a synthetic drug called K-2 five months ago.

"He was very compassionate, he loved people and he loved helping people," Kali Smith described.

She says she didn't know Tyler was taking K-2, but noticed he had been acting differently.

"He was withdrawn, he lacked motivation, he got sick, and I took him right in to see doctors. He was seeing counselors on a weekly basis," Smith explained.

Drugs tests cannot detect the K-2 that was in his system. Counselors thought he was fine. He killed himself and an empty packet of K-2 was found in his pocket. Family members say the drug changed him.

"That drug just took everything away from him," Tyler's brother Michael Smith explained.

That's why the family spoke to senators in favor of the bill some call "Tyler's Law."

It would ban the chemicals used to make some popular synthetic drugs that can be found in convenience stores.

"The packaging is all pretty and marketed. There are Facebook pages for these things, and you can go online and obtain some of these substances. It's really invaded popular culture," forensic scientist Christine Gabig said.

She says she sees new drugs on a weekly basis.

Some lawmakers worry the bill wouldn't help deter future problems from new chemicals. Gabig understands the challenge of keeping up with drug trends.

"It's kind of like a race between lawmakers and the people making the substances."

Tyler's family says it's worth passing the bill for the chance to save at least one person's life who might try to obtain a synthetic drug.

A decision is expected in the coming week.

The Smith family also created The Purple Project Facebook page to bring awareness to the drugs and suicide prevention.