Hospitalized 14-year-old warns of smoking incense

by: Tom Regan Updated:

ATLANTA,None - A metro Atlanta teenager and his younger brother are warning of the dangers of synthetic drugs after an encounter that put them both in a hospital.

The drugs, including herbal incense, contained mind-altering chemicals and are still sold in local retail stores.

Brett Duffy, 14, told Channel 2's Tom Regan that he and a friend purchased the incense from a Grayson convenience store.

"When I first got to the hospital, I thought the elephant patterns were coming off the wall," Duffey said.

"Did the [store] clerk question you? Did he ask you for IDs?" Regan asked.

"No. There was a kid with me that looked of-age," Duffey responded.

Duffey said he smoked a bowl of the incense in his back yard on New Year's Day. His 11-year-old brother, Brandon, also took a couple of puffs and felt sick within moments.

"It felt like someone poured gasoline on my head and lighted it on fire. I started getting dizzy and everything. I thought I was going to throw up," said Brandon Duffey.

The children's mother said she had no idea that her kids were smoking the herbal incense until she rushed them to Gwinnett Medical Center that night.

"With Brandon being so young, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined him doing something like this," Lora Duffey said.

Brett Duffey said after smoking the incense, he felt his heart racing and had difficulty breathing. He spent the night in the hospital -- an outcome, he says, that was as unpredictable as the ingredients in the incense.

"They switch them out every week. You get new packs. You never get the same packs, so you don't know what's going to happen. Some packs will be fine, you get high. Another will put you in the hospital," he told Regan.

The boys' mother took Regan to the convenience store to complain and urged the clerk to take the product off the shelves. The clerk said he did not sell the product to underage customers.

"You can buy candy bars at the same place you buy this stuff. We, as parents can only do and say so much," Lora Duffey said. She told Regan she will urge legislators to amend current laws to include all varieties of synthetic drugs.

Brett says he's now urging friends not to try it.

"I don't want to try it again. I don't want to be sitting in a casket," he said.

Channel 2 Action News

Delivered To Your Inbox