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Hallucinogenic Drugs, Trauma Cited in UCSB Student’s Death

The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office had ruled that Andres Sanchez’s Oct. 11 death was ‘accidental’ and the results of ingesting hallucinogenic drugs and suffering major trauma. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office had ruled that Andres Sanchez’s Oct. 11 death was ‘accidental’ and the results of ingesting hallucinogenic drugs and suffering major trauma. (Facebook photo)

A 19-year-old UCSB student was under the influence of powerful hallucinogenic drugs when he died last month after plunging his arm through an Isla Vista apartment window.

That’s the conclusion of the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office, which ruled Andres Sanchez’s Oct. 11 death “accidental” in a statement released Monday evening.

“The cause of death was determined to be ‘acute hallucinogenic polysubstance intoxication,’ with an additional significant cause of death being ‘sharp force trauma of the upper extremity,’” according to the statement.

Toxicology tests determined that Sanchez was under the influence of 25I-NBOMe and ketamine, both strong hallucinogens, and marijuana, officials said.

The trauma refers to a deep cut Sanchez suffered on his right forearm, which led to major blood loss.

Officials with county Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services (ADMHS) noted that 25I-NBOMe “is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen that is distributed in a number of different forms including liquids, blotter paper and powder. The most common method of ingesting 25I-NBOMe is orally.”

The drug can result in seizures, aggression, self-harm and agitation, distortions in space and time, psychosis-like symptoms, an abnormally rapid heart rate, increased body temperature, and rapid breakdown of muscle tissue, health officials said.

They described ketamine as an anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, known on the street as “K” and “Vitamin K.”

“Its popularity as a recreational hallucinogenic drug has increased dramatically in the past 10 years as result of its association with ‘rave’ dances,” officials said. “Misuse of ketamine can result in hallucinations, delirium, irrational behavior and progress into cardiovascular and respiratory irregularities.”

Sanchez’s ordeal began at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11, when emergency dispatchers began receiving 9-1-1 calls reporting a medical emergency in the 6700 block of Abrego Road, west of Camino del Sur.

Sanchez, a second-year pre-biology major from Poway in San Diego County, was bleeding from the arm and running around in the street screaming for help, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

“Sanchez was combative and displayed symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance,” Hoover said.

“He was bleeding profusely,” she added. “Several of the witnesses attempted to restrain Sanchez and provide first aid.”

​Emergency personnel eventually were able to restrain Sanchez on a backboard, and he was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

In the emergency room he became unresponsive, Hoover said, and he was pronounced dead just before 7 a.m.

In the days following the incident, a handful of witnesses publicly asserted that a lack of urgency and racism among emergency personnel contributed to Sanchez's death.

County sheriff’s and fire officials angrily rejected that claim, saying their responders acted professionally and did everything they could to save him.

ADMHS maintains a 24/7 access line at 888.868.1649 for anyone seeking help with drug and alcohol addiction needs, as well as mental health services, and help with co-occurring mental health and substance use needs.

ADMHS officials issued a reminder that if someone is experiencing potential drug overdose symptoms, community members should immediately call 9-1-1 and request medical assistance for the person experiencing the potential overdose.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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