DEA: Teen commits suicide after the negative effects of marijuana

by Yami Virgin

Our weekly segment, On The Frontlines with the DEA, is meant to teach the public about the dangers out in the community when we talk about legal or illegal drugs. After watching one of these segments, a local mom reached out to Fox San Antonio to share her teenage son’s story with marijuana. A story that ends in tragedy for the 19-year-old, according to his mother.

“So when he told me he was smoking marijuana I kind of thought, you know I used marijuana, kids will be kids,” said Laura Stack, Johnny’s mother.

Laura Stack’s son Johnny was 14-years-old when he first used marijuana at a high school party in Colorado, where weed is legal. Stack is originally from San Antonio.

Stack says her son hid his marijuana use from her and her husband until the signs of abuse started showing up.

“Johnny had suffered some psychotic episodes from smoking marijuana had been in several mental hospitals and several medical treatments,” said Stack.

One of the first notable signs Stack says was her son’s grades.

“He was a 4.2 GPA student, he got a perfect 800 out of 800 on the SAT Math, and in his last semester of high school, he got 4 D’s. So it clearly took away his ability to learn, his motivation, his capacity to live a normal life,” said Stack.

Stack claims Johnny’s use of legal marijuana lead him to have psychotic episodes, panic disorders, and anxiety attacks.

“He wrote in his journals, four days before he died even that the mob was after him. That the university he attended was actually an FBI base and that he was a terrorist,” said Stack. “Just clearly a psychotic delusional thinking that was very paranoid and he never was like that before he started using marijuana.”

Then on November 20th of last year, Johnny jumped off a 6 story parking garage.

“Three days before he died he came over to our house for dinner. And he said, I just want to tell you that you’re right. And I said, about what he said about the marijuana. You told me that it was bad for my brain. And the marijuana has ruined my life, in my mind, and I’m sorry, and I love you, and three days later he was gone,” said Stack.

“Marijuana is the most prevalent substance found in completed teen suicide in Colorado,” said Dr. Kenneth Finn, Colorado Pain Medicine Physician.

According to Finn, these are some of the negative effects marijuana has on some teens.

“The number of kids presenting to the emergency department increased over time and 71% of those kids going to the ED (emergency department) with marijuana-related emergency room visits, were there for behavioral and psychiatric events like suicidality, panic disorder, anxiety, etc,” said Finn.

But is it just marijuana causing the problems? According to the DEA, the problem specifically is the high levels of THC that are now much higher than ever before causing some of the dangerous problems.

“Is not really from a natural product, these are engineered plants, these are plants that have all we are going to. I’m not sure what the correct term would be, genetically been altered to become strong by specialized botanist and scientist,” said Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the San Antonio district.

That’s why the DEA is warning parents to be vigilant since this is not the same high as decades ago.

“This is not a DEA agent being an anti-marijuana guy. This is a DEA agent being someone who follows facts and logic, so let’s go where the science goes and let’s go where the facts go before we make long-term decisions that can harm our youth and our country in our communities,” said Sorianello.

Today, Stack tries to prevent other teens from going through what her son went through. She created Johnny’s Ambassadors, which is a non-profit that educates parents and teens about the risks of today’s high THC marijuana on adolescent brain development, mental illness, and suicide. In your neighborhood, on the streets, Fox San Antonio and the DEA will keep you informed and safe.

Related story: DEA: Teen depression and suicide linked to marijuana use

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, they can call or text the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.

Originally Published at:

Share this post