Linda Ramsey of Columbia City lost her 28-year-old daughter less than a month ago, and as hard as it is, she says she’s talking about it — albeit with teary eyes — to just about anyone who will listen.
Her daughter, Lilly Helsley, of Middletown, died July 30 after smoking K2 for the first time.
Responders found a package of the substance commonly considered to be synthetic marijuana at her home, and her family discovered text messages she’d sent to her friends that day proclaiming that K2 was “just as good as weed.”
Because the components and the effects of K2 are poorly understood, there is no test to detect its presence in a person’s body, but Ramsey, her husband, Ronald, and their family have no doubt that Helsley smoked the substance and that the chemicals in it reacted with a non-narcotic prescription pain medication she had been taking.
“The doctor’s very words were, it poisoned her heart,” Ramsey said.
Helsley was a marijuana user, Ramsey explained, and probably tried K2, which is legal and unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, as an alternative to help her quit.
“It’s like she was trying to be good,” Ramsey said. “She was trying to get off (marijuana).”
Helsley’s story has been covered by news outlets all over central Indiana, and although her mother says she’s not proud of what happened, she has no problem with her daughter’s story being told if it gets the word out about the dangers of this legal, unregulated drug, and moves people to take action. Ramsey said she wants to see K2 outlawed.
At the funeral, the Ramseys and their two other daughters, Ginger Conwell and Donna Dyer, handed out news stories about K2 and other young people who have become ill after smoking it.
“I can’t stand the thought of another person dying,” she said. “Two kids don’t have a momma now.”
Helsley was a mother to two-year-old Izzie and seven-year-old Daylyn.
“She wasn’t a bad person,” Ramsey reiterated about her daughter. “She was trying.”
K2 has been banned in eight states, along with Morgan and Boone counties in Indiana. State Rep. John Barnes has said he will seek legislation banning the substance statewide when the Indiana House reconvenes next year.