ABINGDON, Va. - Parents of a University of Virginia student from the Tri-Cities who died earlier this month want to help other parents avoid their heartache.
They believe their daughter 19-year-old Shelley Goldsmith died after using the drug "molly," which police tell us is a hallucinogenic drug.
Shelley Goldsmith was starting her second year at the University of Virginia and was an honor student.
Shelley's parents tell us she was with friends at a club in Washington D.C. three weeks ago. "Her heart stopped beating at the club where she was and that was about 1:30. She died about seven or eight hours later of complete organ failure," says Shelley's mother, Dede Goldsmith.
Shelley's parents tell us they believe her death was caused by the drug. "Our understanding is that they all took this drug that they thought was molly and she died from it," adds Shelley's father, Rob Goldsmith.
They tell us "molly" is something they've never heard of before, so they want to warn others. "We don't want for Shelley to have died in vain, died for nothing," adds Rob Goldsmith.
"She's someone who wouldn't fit anybody's profile of a drug user. She was very health-conscious, she would exercise regularly," says Dede Goldsmith.
That's why they are taking her message to friends, family, and Shelley's classmates about the dangers of "molly". "It can kill you the first time you take it or it could be many times," says Rob Goldsmith.
The Goldsmiths have been working with UVa and Thursday the university put out a video for parents and students about the dangers of "molly". "It's already having an impact, but for Shelley to have to died for that to happen is a very, very sad thing," adds Dede Goldsmith.
They tell us the drug can be mixed with just about anything and it has serious side effects, which Shelley experienced. "[It can cause] liver failure, kidney failure, heart failure, blood problems," says Rob Goldsmith.
The Goldsmiths tell us people have perceived "molly" to be a safe drug, but it isn't. "We want to save as many lives as possible. It's a killer drug because you don't know what's in it," adds Dede Goldsmith.
Meanwhile, they want Shelley's goal of helping others to live on.
We've made several calls to the medical examiner's office and are waiting on the toxicology report to find out the exact cause of her death.
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