AUSTIN, Texas -- The number of people arrested for possessing synthetic drugs has skyrocketed in the last five years in Texas, rising from 7,966 in 2009 to 9,645 in 2012.

One of the most recent examples happened in May when in a span of five days nearly 120 people in Austin and Dallas overdosed on a synthetic drug.

Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic marijuana, cocaine and meth, but they are chemically laced with substances sold over the counter at some convenience stores, gas stations, and tobacco shops.

The problem is that buyers don't know what they're ingesting.

And as one Austin mom learned, the danger is real, terrifying, and life changing. She wanted to share her story in order to help others.

If only we could freeze time, capture the innocence, bottle it up.

It's something most parents dream of at some point, perhaps none more than Lisa Thomas.

Chandler was very intelligent and very gregarious and very fun loving, Thomas said. Size 15 shoes since he was 13-years-old. He was just a big boy, huge dimples.

Her youngest child, Chandler, was a freshman at the University of Arkansas with a bright future.

I mean he had goals, but he was adventuresome, she recalled.

In November that adventurous spirit would get him in trouble.

I got the call at 10:15 that night, said Thomas. It was the call no mother hopes to get. All I was told was 'Chandler's in the hospital and we don't know what happened'.

Lisa and the rest of the family drove all night.

We walked straight in, and he was on life support. All hooked up. I never, ever, ever would've dreamed that I would see my son looking like that, she said.

Even more troubling, no one knew what happened until a friend blurted out 25i.

That was the start of us scrambling and trying to figure out what this is. Seven specialists on his team had never heard of it; they knew nothing, Thomas said.

25i, also known as NBOMe and smiles, mimics LSD. It's the latest synthetic drug.

It was eating his muscles away, she said.

For nearly two weeks Chandler struggled, in a coma for most of that time.

Then signs of improvement.

We were able to take him off the respirator. After about 12 days we were able to get him up, and he walked, said Thomas.

Then on Dec. 3 something changed. Chandler took a turn for the worse.

When we got there (to the hospital), they wouldn't let us go back, she said.

We walked in, and I knew. I mean, it was like a television show, said Thomas.

Twenty-one days after taking that tiny pill, Chandler died.

It is why Lisa Thomas has decided to share Chandler's story at Hyde Park High School where she works. And did they listen.

I don't want there to be another Chandler, said Stormey Barton. I don't want there to be another kid in a situation like Chandler that's unequipped to handle a situation like that.

Barton and John Detamore hope to change that.

We're trying to answer a global cry for teens across the nation that are our age and going through the same thing, said Detamore.

This spring they launched SOS, Students Opposing Substances, with big names like former Texas Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy.

Kids sign a contract agreeing not to use drugs or alcohol, but this program takes it a step further.

The parents are given an at-home drug test.

Having that drug test at home gives the teen the excuse of 'I can't do that. I can't smoke that because I might get caught when I go home.' Nobody wants to get their friends in trouble, said Barton.

So far 175 students have signed the SOS pledge. Barton and Detamore plan to roll out the program in 10 more schools this fall.

Their hope that no other family has to experience this heartache.

He made a stupid decision, said Thomas. If he had any idea on that Monday, November 12 what the consequences and what the end result would have been, there's no way he would have tried those dots, those drugs. I mean I just can't believe he's not here anymore.

The young man who sold the drug to Chandler received six months probation. Police were unable to charge him with manslaughter because they could not determine what was in the drug Chandler took.

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