State says synthetic pot led to teen's drowning death

by: Tom Regan Updated:

Loading

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. - The state's top medical examiner told Channel 2 Action News that synthetic marijuana knocked a metro Atlanta teenager unconscious causing him
to drown in a hot tub at his family's Peachtree City home.


"So far, in Georgia, this is the only case where we have confirmed the death is directly related to synthetic marijuana," said GBI chief medical examiner Dr. Kris Sperry.

Sixteen-year-old Chase Burnett was found dead in his back yard hot tub the morning of March 4. His father discovered a synthetic marijuana product nearby.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an autopsy and toxicology tests, and released the results Tuesday to Channel 2's Tom Regan.

"This was the only drug that was in his body. Based upon that, we are confident that he was very intoxicated by smoking this material and that it rendered him unconscious while he was in the hot tub and caused him to drown," said Sperry.

After the teenager's death, the Georgia General Assembly broadened the ban on synthetic marijuana to include varieties not covered by a law passed in 2010.

The new legislation, named "Chase's Law," was approved in March. When Channel 2 spoke with Burnett's parents, they had harsh words for the manufacturer of the product the teen smoked the night of the tragedy.

"I think they are murderers to be quite honest. That's the word I'm using for them now," said Yvette Burnett.

The medical examiner said the teen's death should serve as a stern warning about the potential risks in using synthetic marijuana.

"This tells me this is much stronger than what anyone realizes, and certainly far stronger that what teenage kids have any understanding of," said Sperry.