Moms Talk: What Do You Think of Karen Dobner's Crusade to Ban Synthetic Marijuana?

Is this mom's passionate activism a positive channeling of grief for the loss of her son?

The city of —those little vials of “potpourri” and “incense” that many officials say can be deadly dangerous, especially to teens who experiment with the "legal" drugs in those products.

A Batavia committee recommended Tuesday that the city .

St. Charles is proposing

Now, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is calling an "emergency summit" on synthetic drug use, set for Thursday, Nov. 10.

Much of the public outrage and call to action has been ignited by one mom's passionate activism. Karen Dobner suspects that a legal potpourri substance was what caused her 19-year-old into a two-story home at the intersection of Route 31 and Mooseheart Road on June 14. Since then, she has and many other local and national media outlets, and started the To The Maximus Foundation, whose purpose is to educate teens on dangerous substances and promote legislation to ban synthetic drugs.

“Smoking this stuff is like playing Russian roulette," said Dobner. "Our goal to educate parents, health professionals, educators and anyone who will listen about how dangerous it is.”

You're a mom. You're also a citizen.

Is Karen Dobner's crusade a good one? Is it the right way for a mom to channel her grief? Should legislation be the responsibility of local government, state government or a federal agency like the Food and Drug Administration?

This is Moms Talk. Let us know what you think in the comments field.

Jay Snyder November 10, 2011 at 01:38 PM
...said Dobner. "Our goal to educate parents, health professionals, educators and anyone who will listen about how dangerous it is.” It is just as important to educate and participate in our children's upbringing, so they are aware of the dangers of ingesting anything including legal, illegal and unknown substances. While it's a kneejerk reaction to automatically direct energy (and blame) after a tragedy, it's equally important to access what was missing that a child felt the need to experiment with his own life (and possibly the lives of many others)
Eve November 10, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Jay-- read deeper into Dobner's story before suggesting "something was missing" in Max Dobner's life. Max believed this was much like a glass of wine and expecting something with the same effect. This is what was marketed to him--and what most young people trying this stuff are told. It's marketed as "legal", "safe", and sold in your corner tobacco store or gas station. If you google it--you'll see sites recommending this to those who are being drug tested as a "legal" alternative that doesn't show up in a drug test. The sad thing is it seems to have an effect NOTHING like marijuana--but more like PCP. Parents need to wake up and realize that this could happen to ANY kid, in ANY town..with ANY upbringing. This "poison sprayed on leaves" is a hallucinogen much like PCP and is sold as "potpourri" to get around the law--yet there it sits next to the other legal tobacco products for sale in corner stores all around our country. There haven't been any studies as to the effects--but new accounts each day in which someone seriously hallucinates, suffers massive seizures, temporary paralysis, heart attacks and in Max's case and others,.death. I for one want to THANK Karen Dobner for telling her story. Max's story brought me to my knees. He looks like my son--anyone's son. Karen opened up my eyes and allowed me to be informed and spread the word to my son and others who might one day find themselves in a similar situation of being sold this "bag of poison".
Eve November 10, 2011 at 05:23 PM
By the way,. there is "something missing" in EVERY life,..there is no perfect life,..no perfect child,..no perfect parent. You can prepare your child in what you think is the best way possible,..educating them,..loving them, supporting them. It can all be taken away in a few seconds,...I'm sure no one knows the deep pain in that more than Karen Dobner--and God bless her for attempting to get rid of this stuff and prevent other young people from being duped to their death.
Martha Hanna March 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM
John, too bad you are so judgemental....there are no guarantees when you raise a child.
Ed February 22, 2013 at 02:18 AM
I have children. I have been luck enough that nothing they tried while growing up resulted in their deaths. Had that circumstance occurred, I would have been devastated. However, I'm also adult enough to comprehend that curiosity is part of human nature. I do advocate against our current stance on drugs because they simply do not work. Period. End of story. 30 years of failed policy. My Father is a retired Probation Officer, and Substance Abuse Counselor. He once posited to me the old adage vis-à-vis the definition of insanity. That sums up what our approach to drugs in the country is: the expectation of a different result using the same proven failed mindset, approach, policy, and enforcement.


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