Irma Perez, 14, EcstasyLast Updated: Friday, August 17, 2018
Irma was a 14-year-old girl from Belmont, California who took an Ecstasy pill. She became sick immediately—vomiting and writhing in pain—yet her friends did not seek medical help for her. Instead, they gave her marijuana, thinking it would relax her and possibly help her because they had heard it had medicinal qualities. Irma suffered for hours. When she was finally taken to the hospital the next morning, she was in terrible shape. Five days later she was taken off life support and died. After her death, several of her organs were donated to five other people.
How did Irma actually die? Forensic medical experts say that Irma's brain swelled from a lack of oxygen; specifically, her cerebellum dissolved as her brain tried to escape its confined space.
The tragedy does not end with Irma. Because a number of her so-called “friends" were involved in Irma's death, they were arrested and put on trial. So was the dealer who supplied the Ecstasy. Five people in all were charged.
Two eighth grade girls pleaded guilty to two felonies—furnishing a minor with a controlled substance and cruelty to a child likely to cause harm or death. The judge demanded that they cooperate with the DA's office during the other prosecutions related to Irma's death, attend an eight-month rehabilitation program known as GIRLS, write a ten page essay on the dangers of Ecstasy and send a letter of apology to the Perez family.
A 20-year-old named Anthony Rivera admitted that he provided the Ecstasy to Irma's friends. He received a sentence of five years in the California Department of Corrections. He ran a junior high drug ring and sold the Ecstasy to a 17-year-old dealer named Calin Fintzi, who then sold them to Irma's friends.
Calin and two friends arrived at the home where Irma and her friends had taken the Ecstasy and stayed between 2:30 and 5:00 in the morning. He gave Irma water and marijuana to help her get through her "bad trip."
Angelique Malabey, 18, was sentenced to six months in jail for helping Rivera hide his drugs after Irma died.
Read more real-life stories about young people and substance abuse.