Billy Tucker probably bought the fake marijuana for the same reason others do: To get high.
After all, the “K2” as it is known, was easy and legal to buy.
Instead it killed the Greenwood teen last month while he slept off a night of partying in Lincoln.
“We had no clue,” said his father, Steve Tucker. “He was a typical teenager.”
Tucker said his son bought the K2. Anyone can purchase it at a head shop or tobacco store. The brand Tucker's son bought was sold under the brand name Scooby Snax Potpourri.
A Lancaster County autopsy confirmed Friday that Tucker, 18, died of an overdose of synthetic marijuana. It was not known how much of the drug was in his system.
Toxicology reports also found alcohol in Tucker's blood, although the amount was not available. Alcohol was not listed as a contributing to the young man's death, but it wasn't ruled out either, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.
Deaths from K2 are unusual — Lancaster County Chief Deputy Jeff Bilemeister said he wasn't aware of another such death in the state. But the drug also has been a factor in suicides.
In 2010, an Indianola, Iowa, teenager killed himself after taking K2. Last year, a Bellevue teenager committed suicide after taking synthetic marijuana, his family said.
Iowa and Nebraska have banned the synthetic marijuana, but companies get around the bans by altering the chemical makeup. The brand that Tucker purchased was formulated to be legal.
Lawmakers are struggling to keep up with the reformulated versions that emerge after a law is passed.
Tucker, who planned to start college in January, died after a night out. One of the people who bought alcohol for the party has been cited on suspicion of sale of alcohol to a minor. Kevin McCulley, 25, was cited for the alcohol charge and for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. McCulley is on federal probation until 2016 for narcotic offenses committed in 2007.
Investigators provided this account of the night Tucker died:
Tucker drank alcohol and smoked K2 at the Lincoln party on the night of Oct. 12.
Sometime after midnight, he went to a friend's house in Waverly, where he decided to take a nap before returning to his home in Greenwood. He never woke up.
Rescuers called to the Waverly home found a pipe and the package of Scooby Snax Potpourri in his pocket.
“If people you know are using this, tell them to knock it off,” said Bilemeister, the Lancaster County chief deputy. “They could end up in the ER — or worse.”