"You're right, it's not your kid. It's what he doesn't know" WTHI, by Sara Schaefer, September 26, 2014

Terre Haute, Ind. (WTHI)- An Indiana family is hoping to get the word out about the dangers of synthetic drugs. They’re doing it through an organization called Sam’s Watch.

Sam’s Watch is done in hopes that other families will know what Sam’s family did not.

Jeanine Motsay recalls a day just four months ago that she will never forget for all the wrong reasons.

“Sunday morning, a ring at the doorbell, it was the worst day of our lives,” she said.

At the door was a local Sheriff who told them their 16-year-old son, Sam, had died due to synthetic drug use.

“For those people that think, you know this isn’t my kid, I say you’re right. It’s not your kid, it’s what he doesn’t know,” Motsay said.

In Sam’s case, a new illegal synthetic drug made by mixing powder with a brand of alcohol then spraying it onto a sheet of paper. A toxic mixture that was fatal for Sam and devastating for his family.

An experience they’re focused on educating others about.

“I want to move forward with Sam in our lives providing somebody else that life saving opportunity from Sam’s experience. I am looking for justice. Not only through organizations like Sam’s Watch but as we enter the next legislation of 2015, stricter penalties, stricter laws,” she said.

The Vigo County Drug Task Force is trying to make that happen by first requiring specific permits for businesses.

“When they apply for that permit it grants us a little bit more leeway for us to go in and make sure they’re in compliance with that permit and not selling synthetic drugs,” Detective Steve Lockard said.

The Motsays and Lockard say it will take a continued team effort to educate about the deadly effects of synthetic drug use.

For an in-depth look at Sam’s story and the memories his family is sharing, click here.

Photojournalist: David Essex