An Iowan testified today before a U.S. Senate panel that’s introduced legislation to ban the chemicals used to make K2, a synthetic version of marijuana. Mike Rozga of Indianola talked about his 18-year-old son, David, who killed himself after smoking K2 last June. Rozga became choked up less than a minute into his testimony as he talked about his son’s plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa.
“We were so proud of him and all he had accomplished, yet suddenly, out of nowhere, our lives were tragically changed forever,” Rozga said, his voice quivering. The chair of the panel, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, told Rozga to take his time. “We certainly understand how hard it is, so don’t worry about letting a little emotion out,” Feinstein said.
Rozga continued by explaining how he and his wife, Jan, decided to speak out for the first time about the dangers of K2 at their son’s funeral. “We had a church filled to capacity with upwards to a 1,000 people, some sitting on the floor in the isles,” Rozga said. “Even though we and our family and friends needed to mourn our great loss, we felt burdened to talk to the young people about David’s mistake and inform parents about K2.”
David purchased K2 with friends from a local shopping mall and began experiencing hallucinations and anxiety shortly after smoking the drug. Rozga said his son became agitated and told his friends that he “felt like he was in hell.” David eventually seemed to calm down and told his friends he was tired and was going home.
His father believes David continued to be “terrorized” by the drug when he got home and shot himself. “We know that David was tortured both mentally and physically before he died,” Rozga testified. Police, who investigated the teen’s death, said they found no evidence that David Rozga was suicidal prior to using the drug. Mike Rozga closed his testimony with a plea for permanent nationwide ban on so-called designer drugs like K2.
“The message I want to leave you with here is we’re not doing enough and we’re not moving quickly enough,” Rozga said. “The people knowingly and deceptively poisoning our youth will seemingly stop at nothing for their own financial gain. They are ahead of us and it is imperative we enact comprehensive legislation to ban not only K2, but also bath salts, Salvia and other synthetic compounds.”
Rozga addressed the Senate Caucus on International Narcotic Control. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is the committee’s co-chairperson with Senator Feinstein. Grassley and Feinstein’s bill to ban chemicals used in synthetic drugs is called the David Mitchell Rozga Act. Nearly 20 states already have such bans in place, while similar legislation is still being debated in Iowa.
Listen to Rozga’s testimony here: Rozga 9:12 MP3