Cadott mom warns of black market ‘carts’ in the area
By Julia Wolf
“If it’s in Cadott...It’s everywhere.”
A local parent is warning of the dangers of black market vaping cartridges, after her son faced serious medical problems after using a cartridge.
Tiffanie Janzen, Cadott, says she received a call that her son, Devyn McCormick, 22, was unresponsive and foaming at the mouth Oct. 2.
“So, I whipped my car around and I flew to Lake Wissota,” said Janzen.
When she arrived at the Lake Wissota house where Devyn was, emergency personnel were still on the scene. Janzen says the officers began asking her questions.
“They thought it was heroin,” said Janzen.
However, Janzen told officers she did not believe her son used heroin, despite the symptoms pointing to heroin use.
“As I walked by the ambulance, I could see him on a stretcher, in the ambulance, intubated,” said Janzen. “So, then I knew it was pretty serious.”
McCormick was transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where a number of tests were run. Later, he was moved from the emergency room to the ICU, still unconscious.
Janzen says her son was unconscious for about nine hours, without the use of sedative medications. She says the toxicology reports came back with nothing in McCormick’s system, other than marijuana.
“They said, ‘We wish we had answers,’” said Janzen “‘I know you want answers. We just don’t have any until we know what he took.’” Eventually, McCormick was able to breathe on his own, but he then began to experience apnea, where he would stop breathing every couple minutes.
“Someone had to be in the room with him the entire time and, like, shake him to remind him to breathe,” said Janzen.
Janzen says McCormick also became combative, screaming for help, before he was sedated again.
When McCormick regained consciousness and started to become coherent, Janzen asked him what he did. He told her he smoked a “cart,” but told her it wasn’t fake. Before she could get an answer on how he knew it wasn’t “fake,” McCormick fell back asleep.
Janzen was able to talk to some of Mc-Cormick’s friends about what a cart is and learned that there are “fake” vaping cartridges in the area.
Janzen said the doctors agreed it made sense that a black market cartridge could be the cause, but there is no test unless someone is able to find out what was in the cartridge.
McComick’s condition has improved since the ordeal.
“He seems to be fully recovered,” said Janzen.
In her discussions with other families affected by black market cartridges, they have told her something to watch for in the future is seizures.
“The problem is, we just don’t know what was in it,” said Janzen, adding that even household cleaners or any other products cartridge-makers could get their hands on, could have been included in the mix.
Janzen says her message should not be viewed as anti-marijuana or anti-vaping, when it comes to nicotine products.
“This is a completely different crisis in itself,” said Janzen. “These fake cartridges are floating out there and people are smoking them, and many people are dying or going through the same traumatic experience that my son did.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website says it does not recommend using vaping products with THC, especially those obtained off of the street or from other informal sources, such as family, friends or illicit dealers, because of the product’s correlation with lung injuries.
Janzen says she was unaware black market cartridges were even in the area, and wants to spread awareness to kids and adults.
“It’s scary and I don’t want anyone else to ever go through this,” said Janzen.