A Park Hill High School student died after taking "acid," and two teens have been arrested, according to the Platte County Sheriff's Office.
Ethan Rickman was a freshman at the high school. Counselors were on hand on Monday for grieving students and faculty members.
Platte County Sheriff's Office deputies and paramedics rushed to a home in the 4900 block of Northwest Fisk Drive just before 2:30 a.m. Friday. Rickman, 14, was rushed to an area hospital, where he died.
A second 14-year-old boy, who is called Z.S. in court documents, was also treated after consuming the LSD-like drug. He survived.
Krista E. Meeks, 17, and Jamell D. Montgomery, 18, have been charged with distribution of imitation controlled substance, which is a felony. Meeks also faces two misdemeanor marijuana-related charges. Bond was set at $25,000 each.
The school district offered its sympathies to the family, friends, classmates, teachers and others who knew and cared for Rickman.
"He was a bright, talented, fun-loving young man who played in a band," according to a statement issued by the Park Hill School District. "His family donated his organs, which are already saving a life."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Rickman previously went to Prairie Point Elementary, Plaza Middle and Congress Middle schools.
According to court documents, Meeks sold six hits of the drug to Rickman and Z.S. She allegedly did so because she owed Montgomery money and he told her that selling the two teens the acid would take care of her debt, police said.
When first responders rushed to the Grey Stone Apartments in Riverside, they found the resident who lives in the apartment performing CPR on Rickman.
Z.S. was acting suspicious and quite "out of it," according to court records.
"Sgt. Cathcart explained to Z.S. that he needed to know if Z.S. and E.R. [Rickman] had taken any illegal drugs so the paramedics could help Z.S. and E.R. Z.S. first admitted that he and E.R. had only smoked marijuana," according to court documents.
The sergeant asked if it was possible they had smoked K-2 because Z.S. was acting so erratic. The teen finally admitted that they had taken three hits of acid.
A 16-year-old girl told detectives she was with the two boys when he bought the drugs from Meeks, according to court documents.
Meeks told police that she knew the two boys were freshmen.
"Krista Meeks then admitted that the 'acid' she sold to E.R. and Z.S. was not the LSD form of acid, but a research chemical drug that mimics the effects of LSD," according to court documents. "Krista Meeks, a self-admitted heavy drug user, refuses to take this drug because the effects are so harsh and violent. Krista Meeks sold the 'acid' to E.R. and Z.S. anyway. Krista Meeks describes the effects of this drug to be so extreme that she has read articles where people have died after taking the exact drug."
Addictions counselor Justin Puch has seen first hand how deadly synthetic drugs can be.
"What they don't realize is these synthetic drugs are much more dangerous than their organic counterpart," he said.
Over the past six months, Puch has seen several deaths linked to drugs like the one investigators say Rickman took.
Puch said teenagers are especially vulnerable, risking serious harm or death after just one use.
"You are talking about long term damage. Because of how their brains aren't fully developed, it damages the brains much more significantly than for adults with fully developed brains," Puch said.
Puch is hoping the tragedy will serve as a wake up call to parents, saying communication with their children is key.
"To educate ... what are the dangers of them and to share that with your kids. Share this is the path that you can go down, and even some of these drugs can lead to death," Puch said.
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