Grieving Oswego family takes stand against synthetic drugs

It's known among people

in the
City of Oswego as flat rock. It's a favorite spot for swimmers on the shore of Lake Ontario. It's where 19 year old Victor Woolson drowned on August 9th. Now his grieving family is on a campaign for tougher laws and greater awareness about the dangers of synthetic drugs, commonly called "bath salts."


Woolson's mother, Teresa and his sister, Sarah Gauger took CNY Central's Jim Kenyon to flat rock despite the painful memories associated with it. It was here they told Kenyon of a young man from a good family who they say became a victim of synthetic drugs. "He was a great kid, never in trouble. (He spent) 4 years of U.S. Marine Corps ROTC program in high school... advanced regents diploma."

Gauger added, "I could never see him doing drugs. He was very intelligent with his advanced regents diploma...a lot of potential that was just ripped away by these synthetic drugs."

The family says last year, Victor

got mixed up with some friends who introduced him to synthetic drugs which at the time was legal.


oon they say
Victor was trapped in a world they could not understand. "We tried to be there more for him. We tried having him go to counseling and there's not much out there that was helping him." Gauger said.


n that fateful day on
August 9th, the family says Woolson and some friends came to flat rock for a swim, but he stopped at a shop called Extreme Underground first. They say according to the testimony of his friends to police, Woolson bought a product called Avalanche. Though it is labeled as an incense and not for human consumption, they say it's well known as a synthetic form of marijuana. "One of his friends can get it right here in Oswego." Teresa claims, "So they did and two and a half hours later he was pulled from the lake."


ased on what
Victor's friends told police, the family believes he may have had a drug induced seizure while he was swimming.


month after the tragedy

, W

oolson's family is turning their mourning into a mission

by pushing for tougher laws against synthetic drugs... and raising awareness in the community. "I think these are drug dealers with a storefront." Teresa Woolson says.

The owner of Extreme Underground has not returned our call for comment. L

ast month authorities raided
Extreme Underground and other head shops in the area but so far no one has been charged. Oswego police say they're still waiting for test results from the State Police Crime Laboratory.


n the month since
Victor Woolson's death, the mother and daughter team have appeared before local school boards to push for awareness campaigns about synthetic drugs in schools. They're also contacting area legislators on the local, state and federal levels asking for tougher laws. Teresa says, "They need to be harsher crimes... harsher penalties."

The family

Oswego County's effort to make the sale and possession of synthetic drugs a misdemeanor crime, but Sarah Gauger feels it's not enough. "$4000 fine and up to a year in jail? That doesn't help me with losing my brother that's not enough. It needs to be a felony."{>}


he family of
Victor Woolson says they'll take their message to Albany to convince the state legislature to pass tougher laws. They've also established a facebook page in memory of the son and brother who they says became a victim of synthetic drugs.