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Teen learns lesson after using GHB
Michael Berg, who has done his share of drugs, is warning people against trying GHB even once.
Its not worth what its been talked about, he said.
Sitting in an office at Federal Way High School, where hes a senior, Berg, 17, described his harrowing experience after he tried GHB for the first time earlier this month.
Ive known about (the drug) for a few years, but never really thought about it until it was right in front of me, he said.
There had been a lot of recent conversation at school about the drug. People had been saying it was a good high, like being drunk, but without the dizziness, nausea and hangover. People had been saying it was the new thing and he should try it.
Some friends came to visit him at home and brought a water bottle containing a clear, corn syrupy liquid. They called it 1,4-B.
Berg said hes lived in Federal Way pretty much his whole life. He used to live with his father, but now lives on a farm with his aunt and uncle. They have chickens, goats and cows, and he said theyre getting a pig pretty soon.
His younger brother and sister live with their fathers. Shes in gymnastics and hes in baseball. Berg said hes never played any sports.
He said he cant imagine either of his siblings ever being in a situation similar to the one he just experienced because theyve seen the consequences of decisions hes made.
Berg has sandy-blonde, chin-length hair and an unruly chin-strap goatee. He keeps a pair of dark, wraparound sunglasses hooked over the collar of his t-shirt.
He likes to drive fast muscle cars and he likes living in Federal Way. He sees himself living close by in five years.
Ill be living not trying to make it but living comfortably, with my dream car, he said.
Hes not going to make graduation this year because he fell behind, but hed like to get his GED and go to automotive school in California. He also wants to go fishing in Alaska with his grandfather.
Bergs first experience with marijuana was in the fifth grade. Since then, hes tried meth, ecstasy, opium, mushrooms and acid. He used drugs because thats the environment he was in, he said its what the people around him did for entertainment.
But he said hes done now.
After this whole thing, Im off, he said. It scared the drugs out of me.
When he woke up in the hospital, he was surrounded by his whole family and his best friends. That usually only happens on birthdays and Christmas, he said.
My best friend sat by my side for 21 hours, he said. He never went to sleep or anything. When I woke up, hes the first person I saw. If hed been there when I was going to take it, hed have prevented me from taking it, too.
I remember staggering around
Berg had drunk three beers and might have smoked some pot the day his friends brought over the water bottle, but he said he wasnt worried about adverse reactions because itd been three hours since his last beer.
He tried the GHB solution, which usually is home-brewed out of chemical solvents, such as engine degreaser, drain cleaner or floor stripper and acid or lye.
The taste is so god-awful, he said.
It took about an hour for him to start feeling any of the effects, he said, but then things went downhill quickly.
I remember staggering around the driveway like I was drunk, he said.
He went inside to lie down on the couch. The last thing he remembers was telling his 13-year-old cousin not to touch the stuff.
Eighteen hours later, he woke up at St. Francis Hospital.
Bergs cousin saw him have his first seizure on the couch. His dad was there, as was his best friend, whom Berg evidently had called, and they held him and called 9-1-1 while he continued having seizure after seizure.
Berg died and was resuscitated. He was in a coma for nine hours at the hospital, hooked up to a respirator and with IV lines in his arms. His best friend sat by his bed, waiting to see if he would live or die.
Im really lucky, Berg said. Hopefully, it just wasnt my time and Im supposed to be here longer.
Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and firstname.lastname@example.org