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NIDA. (2016, January 13). SAMs Watch: Honoring a Lost Life by Saving Others. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
January 13 2016
Sam Motsay, who died after taking a synthetic drug he thought was LSD or acid.
Sam Motsay, who died after taking a synthetic drug he thought was LSD or acid. Photo courtesy of SAMs Watch.

Sam Motsay had lots of talent and big plans. A 16-year old honors student in Center Grove, Indiana, he also loved being an athlete and playing tenor sax in his school band. He was really into hiking, fishing, hunting, and gaming. He planned to study finance in college.

One day in May 2014, Sam and a couple of his friends tried what they thought was LSD or acid. Sam went to bed later that evening, and the next morning he didn’t wake up. He didn’t know he had actually taken a synthetic drug called NBOMe, or N-bomb (also known as “Smiles” or “2-5-1”). The drug killed him.

Sounding the alarm

Sam’s grief-stricken family had never heard of N-bomb—one of several recently-emerging synthetic or “designer” drugs—and neither had local law enforcement. In an attempt to prevent what happened to Sam from happening to others, his family formed SAMs Watch, a non-profit organization that educates young people about the dangers of N-bomb and other synthetics. They want everyone to know that this can happen to good kids who make quick decisions based on bad information, usually in social situations.

SAMs Watch—in particular, Sam’s mother Jeanine—has spoken to community groups, given media interviews, and made public service announcements about synthetic drugs. The organization also has a Twitter feed about the evolving dangers of these drugs. In these ways his mother honors Sam’s lost potential by preventing other similar tragedies.

And this month, SAMs Watch is teaming up with NIDA to encourage middle and high schools in Indiana and Kentucky to participate in National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW). (Your school can get involved in NDAFW, too; check out the resources at the link.)

Education starts with you

SAMs Watch is on a mission to save lives, and you can help by learning the facts about synthetic drugs. They include:

All of these synthetic drugs have unpredictable effects, and all of them can be deadly.

Bring the message of SAMs Watch into your community by letting other people know about the serious risks of taking synthetic drugs, and the danger of trusting anyone trying to push you to take drugs. You could really save someone’s life.

Learn about helping a friend who’s using drugs.