For one local young man, the use of the drug K2 almost cost him his life.
Brandon Gibbs shared his story to kick off the town hall meeting held Thursday night at Borger High School on the issue of synthetic drugs. He said he wanted to educate people on the dangers and what such drugs can do to people.
â€śI want to give all the glory to God that Iâ€™m here and that I can give my testimony today, because I really shouldnâ€™t be here,â€ť he said. â€śI really shouldnâ€™t be alive right now.â€ť
As a child, he said he grew up in church and was raised as well as a child could be. There was not any drug or alcohol use in his family, and he said he really wasnâ€™t introduced to such things until high school.
Gibbs said he started experimenting with alcohol and marijuana, but not extensively. After graduating high school, he went to the Army, and reported to his first station in September 2009. Within about a month, he was first exposed to the synthetic drugs, or the K2 brand. He started smoking there, and he said the effects were very different than recent experiences he had with the drug.
â€śEverything was very time-consuming,â€ť he said. â€śSomething that was only 15 minutes seemed like it would take me an hour or 30 minutes.â€ť
He kept smoking and was then sent to New York. K2 had just been banned, but some new synthetic drugs had come out that were very similar. He and some of his buddies decided to try out the new drugs. They were significantly stronger, and the effects were different.
Gibbs said he had a buddy that said he heard people couldnâ€™t be tested for synthetic drugs. He came up to Gibbsâ€™s barracks and smoked some of the drugs. Within just a few minutes, he was rolling around on the bed, red as could be, unable to breathe, his mouth was dry, and he said he felt like he was having a heart attack and about to die.
Gibbs panicked, wondering how he would explain the situation. He ended up filling a one-liter water bottle twice in about a minute and a half, giving the guy water. His friend laid in the floor almost unconscious. Even though the situation spooked Gibbs, he kept smoking the drugs.
After that, he went for a month of training in Louisiana, and he and his friends who smoked the synthetic drugs had to go without them during that time. After the training ended and he returned to New York, he said there had been yet another synthetic drug ban.
At that time, manufacturers werenâ€™t one step ahead like they are now, and they werenâ€™t able to get the drugs. However, Gibbs found out about a new drug called Kryptonite, and he and his buddies tried it out. He said the drug really messed him up. He said he felt horrible and his skin was a greenish-white color. He told his friends he was going to lay down because he felt so bad.
After laying down, he heard a loud commotion in his living room like something had hit the wall. One of his friends was face-planted on the ground. He continued to lay there and started moving around in a weird way. Gibbs helped him up, but the guy became hostile toward him and started to swing at him.
His other friend and wife at the time ended up grabbing the guy and holding him, assuring him everything was going to be okay. The guy who had fallen on the ground started sobbing, saying he would never touch the drugs again. Gibbs said he said the same thing at the time. However, he didnâ€™t hold to that promise.
He eventually left that duty station and came back home to Borger. When he came back, he found out there were places that sold the same kind of drugs. They were a little more expensive, but he said it honestly didnâ€™t make a difference to him.
â€śIt didnâ€™t matter either. It was my priority. It consumed my life completely. Nothing else mattered,â€ť Gibbs said. â€śI would go without food just so I could smoke.â€ť
He continued to smoke the drugs, and started working for a contractor in Stinnett, doing electrical booster stations for DCP. Some of his coworkers, along with him, smoked the drugs while they were working.
He said their attitude was that they didnâ€™t care that they might be putting peopleâ€™s lives in danger doing so. Gibbs said that isnâ€™t his natural personality, and he is drawn to helping those who are hurting or are in pain.
â€śI have a big heart and I care about everybody,â€ť he said.
As time went on, and he continued smoking the drug, he went from having almost what he described as â€ścartoonyâ€ť hallucinations to being light-headed and hostile. He said he wanted to fight people at the drop of a hat, and got into big fights with his parents. He got to the point where he didnâ€™t care if they were insulted or hurt. At that point, he said he didnâ€™t think he was being that harsh.
Some people told him it seemed like he was walking in slow motion when everything seemed normal to him. All of this led up to November of last year, and he was smoking the drugs a lot more.
He was in the house by himself with young kids, and knew none of them should have been smoking the stuff, but none of that mattered to him.
â€śOne day, I guess I smoked more than I shouldâ€™ve, and I ended up going to my parents and we got in an argument over something stupid,â€ť Gibbs said. â€śIt insulted me so deeply, and it shouldnâ€™t.â€ť
He left the house that night, which was Nov. 25, and went back to his own home. Heâ€™s not sure how much more he smoked, but his memories of that night have started to come back. He also went back through his text messages and it was ridiculous. He said it was obvious he was under the influence of drugs.
Ultimately, it led to him hanging himself and actually took a picture of himself. For some reason, he said he thought it was a good idea, and he knows now he wasnâ€™t in his right mind. He said he has survived this and wants to tell everyone his story.
â€śI hope you can learn from what I did that this is not a good drug,â€ť Gibbs said. â€śThereâ€™s all sorts of different chemicals and all different amounts. You never know what youâ€™re going to get. Basically, if one or two people learn from my mistakes and it saves their lives, then this entire experience is worth it, because I donâ€™t want anyone else to make the same mistake I did.â€ť
(Watch the Borger News-Herald for continuing coverage from Thursdayâ€™s town hall meeting.)