D uring Tuesday's session of the New York State Assembly, four women from Oswego County sat politely in the back of the chambers. They are the family of Victor Orlando Woolson who drowned at the age of 19 while swimming in Lake Ontario on August 9, 2012
Woolson,s sister, Sarah Gauger described her brother as "funny, intelligent, handsome...he had a lot going for him," Gauger said his death "wrecked our whole family."
P olice determined that Woolson had overdosed on a synthetic form of marijuana that was allegedly sold at an Oswego head shop under the name of Avalanche. Teresa Woolson said her son "really didn't understand it could be a deadly product on the shelf of the store."
V ictor Woolson's family has turned their tragedy into a cause to eliminate synthetic drugs which often contain a chemical hallucinogenic additive. "They're poison. They're not really even drugs... poison sprayed on leaves, just a random mixture of chemicals." Teresa Woolson told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.
Even though there are laws regarding the sale , labeling and distribution of synthetic drugs , and even though there have been raids on the shops that sell them , S tate Assemblyman Will Barclay says more needs to be done. Barclay says his legislation would make it a crime to sell synthetic drugs. He says it would also put an end to the cat and mouse game in which manufacturers skirt the law my making a slight change to the chemical compounds in the drugs. "It's really a terrible drug and it's marketed as "incense" sometimes. We've seen it as "foot deodorant" and a safe alternative to illegal drugs which is totally inaccurate. It has the same effect as illegal drugs and sometimes even worse." Barclay says.
Tuesday afternoon Assemblyman Barclay introduced his fellow legislators to the grieving family of Victor Orlando Woolson so they can put faces to his bill to crack down on synthetic drugs. It's the second year Barclay has sponsored such legislation. Last year it died in the Health Committee where it remains stalled during the current session.
The family has established the Victor Woolson Foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of synthetic drugs.