Parents Who Blame Son's Death on K2, Campaign for Statewide Synthetic Drug Ban

By Victoria Kim 11/07/14

Jerrald Meek turned to using synthetic marijuana to quell the PTSD he suffered from serving three tours in Afghanistan.

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Jerrald Meek. Photo via

The parents of a former soldier who committed suicide in August are calling for an Iowa statewide ban on synthetic drugs like K2, or synthetic marijuana, which they blame for their son’s death.

In August, city officials in Cedar Rapids passed an ordinance that allows authorities to fine or criminally charge those who sell synthetic drugs based on false advertising or misbranding. K2 is sold legally in retail outlets, marketed as herbal incense or potpourri. Gwen Meek, the victim’s mother, said the law is “not going to do any good” unless it is enforced statewide.

Her son Jerrald Meek, 35, swallowed K2 and hung himself on a doorknob in his parents’ home in Cedar Rapids, where he had been living with his daughter, on August 26. Meek had suffered depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after 13 years in the military, during which he served three tours in Afghanistan.

Since his time in the Army, Meek was never the same, according to Gwen. “He was never like this before,” she said. “He was always tenderhearted and sensitive. He would have never hurt anyone.” In one of their last conversations, Gwen told her son that she felt like she lost him in Afghanistan.

Meek’s parents said he had turned to synthetic drugs for comfort because it was legal and blame the drug for Jerrald’s death. They are now fighting to outlaw such drugs in Iowa. On Saturday, they hosted a public forum in Cedar Rapids, to which they invited representatives from local substance abuse and suicide prevention organizations to speak.

They also asked those in attendance to sign a petition urging lawmakers to ban synthetic drugs in the state. “We don’t want another mom and dad to have to go through what we’ve gone through,” they said.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr