Flint, MI – Two Flint teenagers have died and two more are being treated after smoking what the medical examiner’s office is calling “toxic marijuana” made poisonous by lead water filtration through a contaminated glass water pipe, commonly referred to as a “bong.” The teens were all students of Great Lakes High school, but authorities have not yet released their identities.
According to the Flint County Coroner’s report, toxicology tests confirmed deadly levels of lead contaminated THC (the principal psychoactive constituent in cannabis) was found in the deceased teenagers’ bloodstreams.
Tap water was used to filter the marijuana smoke, according to the two teenagers still in intensive care at Flint General Hospital. The teens were able to alert medical staff that they had spent the weekend smoking weed and “dabbing” through Bongye West, a four-foot-tall glass water bong named after singer Kanye West.
Preliminary tests confirmed fatal levels of lead residue had built up in the teenager’s bong since it was first purchased over two years ago. The student lived in an area of Flint found to contain the highest levels (10 times the federal limit) of lead water contamination. The pipe’s residue, combined with the city’s polluted water supply, created a “toxic marijuana smoke” according to the coroner’s report.
Flint County Police Chief Herbie Baker said authorities were notified at approximately 11:30am Sunday after receiving a panicked 9-1-1 call. “Dispatch relayed a call for a teenage male having seizures. When medics arrived at the home, two of the four boys where unconscious,” said Chief Baker. Investigators believe the teens accidentally overdosed on the poisonous pot and do not suspect foul play was involved. “We do not suspect any foul play and believe this to be a tragic accident. We ask that everyone continue to pray for the families as they go through this difficult time,” Baker said.
A schoolmate who had met with the victims Saturday afternoon said he warned the others not to use the old bong and offered to bring his own smoking device. “I was gonna bring Al Sparkton. They [were] anxious to partake [and] had an 1/8 of Motown Crippler.” The friend appeared deeply saddened and hoped the others would pull through. “My niggas is straight. They be aight.”
A neighbor reported hearing loud rap music coming from the young man’s home late Saturday night, but decided not to call police due to a prior incident with the family. “I wish I would have called now,” the neighbor said.
In response to the student deaths, Great Lakes High School will host a panel discussion about grief and loss Wednesday evening and staff extra counselors for students coping with the tragedy. A candlelight vigil will follow in an area of the school parking lot where the boys would often meet up before school.