Milwaukee County reports first "designer drug" death

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by Tiffany Tarpley

Milwaukee--Milwaukee County has reported it's first 'designer drug' death. The medical examiner's office released the findings Wednesday following the results of toxicology tests. According to the report, 23-year-old Douglas John Peters died from a combination of synthetic Methoxetamine and alcohol.

Back in May of 2012 he attended a house party on North Holt Avenue and died in the attic of that home.

"That took me by surprise," explained the Victim's Mother Kathleen Peters. 'I know he did not know. He was coerced in someway or he did exactly not know."

Peters, who lives in Green Bay, told CBS 58 News in a telephone interview that her son moved to Milwaukee for a new start. She describes 'Dee Jay' as a self taught guitarist and pianist who was interested in a career in entertainment. He aspired to attend The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study liberal arts.

Methoxetamine is an uncontrolled substance but similar to Ketamine, which is used to sedate patients in hospitals, and PCP. Dr. Mark Kostic, with the Medical College of Wisconsin, said the effects of the synthetic drug are hallucinations and euphoria but more seriously could lead to respiratory and cardiac depression, and/or death.

"The fact that we've had a death here now just puts us in the same category as most of the other states it doesn't mean we're in for a bad epidemic," he said.

According to the medical examiner's report the late Peters was receiving housing assistance from Pathfinders, a local agency that works with at-risk and vulnerable youth. Senior Vice President of Projects, Julie Bock, said sometimes young people will use these drugs to numb themselves. "[They] are often feeling a lot of pain and they feel like they need to get that pain to go away," she said.

As for Kathleen Peters, she wants to make sure her son's death is not in vain and that this will keep others from going through her pain. "Do studies on street drugs and stay away from them because the hurt is, is terrible."

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