Love Boat can cause severe brain damage or even death - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Love Boat can cause severe brain damage or even death

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Phillipe McIver Phillipe McIver

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - "Love Boat" is a drug known to have caused severe brain damage and even death in its users. Wilmington Police Officers have said they see very few reports of Love Boat possession a year but past and recent Wilmington events have proven that the drug could be a bigger problem than officials think.

"It's just that chemical imbalance in the head that pretty much makes you go crazy," said WPD officer R. J. Evans.

The drug is marijuana dipped in formaldehyde, a toxic chemical, and set out to dry.  It can also be used in powdered form, sprinkled on marijuana, tobacco, or parsley, and then smoked.

[What is Love Boat? (PDF)]

According to John Dail, a drug prevention specialist, the onset of effects of the drug is rapid.  He says people who use Love Boat can fall into a coma or even die.

 "I knew of a girl that used Love Boat once, a 14-year-old, and she ended up in a psychiatric ward for about a month after that," explained Dail with Coastal Horizons.  "She still has to be on meds to this day and that's been over ten years ago.  It changes a person's brain chemistry."

Dail has never worked a case where Love Boat has killed, but the Wilmington Police Department has. 

WECT gathered information on an open investigation at the WPD involving the man who used the drug and beat in the windows of an elderly woman's car this past March. Officers responded to a 911 call--the caller described the man, saying he was running around Burnett Boulevard completely naked.

"We subsequently tased him," said Evans.

When officers got to the scene the man would not cooperate with verbal commands. After being tased several times, he charged back at officers.

"The tasing pretty much had no effect on him at all," said Evans.

In this case, police say he showed the drug's classic signs.

The WPD also mentioned that the drug was most likely a major factor behind a high profile homicide that happened on Princess Place Drive four years ago. Phillipe McIver was shot and killed by a police officer after he tried grabbing the officer's gun.

According to the SBI's initial findings, two officers responded to the area after several 911 callers reported a man was in the middle of the street with little or no clothes on.  An autopsy report confirmed McIver had a presence of PCP and marijuana in his system at the time of the incident.

Four years later, people living in the inner-city neighborhood surrounding North Fifth Avenue are convinced the drug was involved in a recent homicide that happened this year.

TJ Harris, 16, was left for dead on a porch near North Fifth Avenue.  Police say they have not come across the use of Love Boat in their investigation of Harris' death, but a person claiming to have been close with the teen is convinced the drug was present the night he was killed.

If you suspect a family member of friend is using the Love Boat, contact Coastal Horizons Center treatment program for a drug assessment and drug testing at one of their three offices.

Coastal Horizons Center
New Hanover Office
615 Shipyard Blvd.
Wilmington, NC  2812
(910) 343-0145
Toll Free:  800-672-2903

Coastal Horizons Center
Pender Office
803 S. Walker Street
Burgaw, NC  28425
(910) 259-0668
Toll Free: 866-559-0668

Coastal Horizons Center
Brunswick Office
Highway 17 South
Behind Jones Ford
120 Coastal Horizons Drive
Shallotte, NC  28459
(910) 754-4515

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