SANTA MONICA—A 15-year-old boy from Santa Monica died on Saturday, March 18, after taking LSD, also known as acid, after falling from the third floor of an apartment building.
Authorities responded to reports of suspicious activity at the Belmar Apartments on 1725 Ocean Avenue just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, and found Santa Monica High School freshman Andre Zuczek standing on the balcony of a third-story unit. According to the Los Angeles Times, Lt. Saul Rodriguez from the Santa Monica Police Department indicated the teen fell from the balcony as police approached.
Zuczek was unresponsive upon impact, authorities said. Santa Monica Fire Department paramedics arrived on the scene, and treated the victim before he was transported to a local hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
The reports described several teenagers acting erratically and breaking items. Authorities believe they overdosed on LSD, a hallucinogenic drug. Another teen found at the apartment complex was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries and narcotics ingestion.
Acid is mainly used as a recreational drug and for spiritual reasons. Trips usually start within 20–30 minutes of taking LSD by mouth or a maximum of three to four hours after ingestion, and can last up to 12 hours. “Bad trips,” like the one Zuczek had, can produce intense negative emotions, such as irrational fears and anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, rapid mood swings, intrusive thoughts of hopelessness, wanting to harm others, and suicidal ideation
Zuczek’s mother wants other parents to talk to their children about Zuczek’s untimely death to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. His family shared the below message through a representative that read:
“Andre and a few friends got together on Saturday and tried the drug, acid. Things went badly very quickly as Andre had what is thought to be a “bad trip,” and fell from a third floor apartment. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors tried very hard to save him. We encourage you to talk about Andre with your kids, friends, your family and whoever else provides you support. In sharing, please be aware that hearsay and gossip can be very hurtful and can add more sorrow to the grief we are all feeling at this time.”
Zuczek died of major brain trauma from the injuries he sustained on Monday, March 20, confirmed Santa Monica High School principal, Dr. Antonio Shelton in a letter. This included a statement from the victim’s parents, who wanted to share the circumstances of their son’s death “so that other parents may be spared from losing a child to drug use.”
“3-20-17. Dear Santa Monica High School family and community. It is with deep sadness that we are letting you know that Andre Zuczek, 15, a ninth grade Samohi student, has died after suffering major brain trauma among other injuries. Please join us in holding Andre’s family and friends in your heart at this difficult time. Counseling is available at Samohi for any students needing support. Sincerely, Dr. Antonio Shelton, Principal.”
Funeral arrangements have not been made by the family. Two female students from Santa Monica High School died of illnesses in September and February.
Written by Joanne Yi and Arjun Balasundaram