Mother: Synthetic drug ‘Mr. Smiley’ killed my son

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DENVER -- A Colorado mother whose son died after taking a synthetic drug is now suing the convenience store that sold the product and is sharing her story in the hopes of preventing more deaths.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys representing the family of Nicholas Colbert, 19, who died in 2011 after using the drug commonly known as Spice he bought from a Kwik Shop in Colorado Springs.

The suit claims the Kwik Shop store owners sold Spice in a bottle labeled “Mr. Smiley.” The package contained chemicals that were banned in Colorado.

In an interview with FOX31 Denver, Colbert's mother, Stephanie, said the lawsuit is her way of preventing her family tragedy from happening to others.

Spice “can kill your child and no one should have to feel what I'm feeling right now," Stephanie Colbert said.

“I just know that I lost my son," Stephanie Colbert said. "Here I sit, trying to pick up pieces that are left."

Stephanie Colbert said she found Spice prior to her son's death but didn't know what it was.  She asked Nicholas, who said he bought it at a Kwik Shop and told her it was safe.

"I took him at his word," Stephanie Colbert said. "It if was legal and it was sold over-the-counter, at a convenience store for Pete's sake, that it was okay."

Stephanie Colbert said she came home one day after running errands to find Nicholas sleeping.

"I tried to shake him awake, and he was gone," she said.

Days later after the toxicology report was released, Colbert said she learned what had happened.  The jar contained a chemical concoction, including substances banned under Colorado law, that proved deadly.

Colorado Attorney, David Woodruff filed the wrongful death lawsuit.  “The store owner and his employees made conscience decisions to sell this stuff to kids, including Nicolas," Woodruff aid.

Woodruff said the store owner needs to be held responsible for his actions.

"The way to get store owners to not sell this to Colorado children is to hold them responsible when something bad happens," Woodruff said.

Meantime, Stephanie Colbert is urging convenience stores to stop selling synthetic drugs. "For the convenience stores to knowingly sell this produce is wrong," she said.

"Our kids are at risk because they can get it anywhere," Stephanie Colbert said. "Just talk to your kids. You don't need to badger them. You just need to talk to them."

Monday night at 9pm, Investigative Reporter Heidi Hemmat reveals why Spice is still readily available in convenience stores, despite a Colorado law that was supposed to get it off the shelves, and why police say they are powerless to enforce the law. Watch our special report Monday September 30th, at 9pm.

The Colorado Health Department has blamed synthetic marijuana for an epidemic of illnesses reported along the Front Range.

Three deaths have been linked to synthetic marijuana and as many as 150 people have become sick.

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