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Men's deaths could be related to recreational drug

The deaths of two men found on a second-story fire escape of a Raleigh apartment complex might have been related to a substance marketed as plant food.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The deaths of two men found on a second-story fire escape of a Raleigh apartment complex might have been related to a substance marketed as plant food.

Raleigh police said Friday that a preliminary investigation into the deaths of Ray Allan Ausbon, 21, and Zachary Martin Tigner, 19, found mephedrone could have been involved in their deaths.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the substance, also known as “drone,” “meow-meow,” “bubbles” or “bounce,” is being increasingly used among young males, ages 15-24, as a recreational drug in the nightclub scene because of its hallucinogenic effects.

It is legal and sold over the Internet, not only as plant food, but also as a research chemical and bath salts, according to the DEA.

“It obviously has pretty permanent side-effects and people need to know that,” Ausbon’s father, Doug Ausbon, said Friday. “It's not a club drug. It's not a recreational drug. It's a very, very dangerous drug.”

Ausbon and Tigner were found Saturday morning on the fire escape outside Ausbon's apartment in the Boylan Apartments complex near downtown Raleigh.

Both graduated from Apex High School and were members of Apex Methodist Church. Ausbon was a senior honors student studying accounting at North Carolina State University, and Tigner attended Gardner-Webb University and was scheduled to report to U.S. Army boot camp this week.

“It always happens to someone else. Now, we're somebody else. It happens, and it could happen to anybody,” Doug Ausbon said. “You can't prepare for this, and you don't want any other parent to go through this at all.”

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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