CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Following a D.W.I. this past summer, Richie Sanborn never thought he would have as friendly of a meeting with N.C. State Highway Patrol Officer C.W. Ferrell as he did on Monday.
"Everything happens for a reason," Ferrell said. "God has his ways."
The 44-year-old was arrested by Ferrell in Bessemer City while passed out behind the wheel of his truck -- in the middle of smoking a blunt of synthetic marijuana.
"[The truck is] sitting there running," Ferrell said. "He's sitting there with a blunt in his hand...passed out. I reached in, cut the truck off, took they key, stick it in my pocked of course -- he looks at me and goes, 'Oh, crap.'"
Synthetic marijuana is legal to buy and sell -- it's only illegal to smoke. Sanborn admitted to buying a bag from Johnny's E-Cigs in Bessemer City.
Authorities don't know what chemicals are in synthetic marijuana. Once brands like K2 and Spice were made illegal, the chemistry was altered in different brands to keep it from being deemed illegal. One thing that's for sure -- it's nothing like traditional marijuana.
"I haven't got a lab report back yet, but what is in it, we have no clue," Ferrell said. "It's just a mixture of some bad stuff."
Even though the bags are sold as potpourri, with a warning, "Not Meant for Human Consumption," Sanborn said most stores know the people buying the bags are getting high off what's inside.
"All they care about is that money coming hand over fist," Sanborn said. "That's all they care about -- money, money, money."
Following Sanborn's arrest, FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to him for an interview. He agreed, so long as our cameras showed him getting high as a "warning" to viewers.
"I didn't want my face blurred, I was wanting the world to know this is me, this is what it does to you and this is what it does to your family," Sanborn said.
Following his out of the ordinary message -- The Blanchard Institute, a group of drug experts, worked to get Sanborn in to Lakeview Health in Jacksonville, Fla.
The six-week stay was valued around $60,000 and Lakeview did not charge Sanborn.
Now, back home, Sanborn is sober.
"I was just glad for the opportunity and glad someone finally invested a little something in me and I'm going to make the best of it," Sanborn added.
Meeting, with the Trooper Ferrell, Sanborn is thankful for the arrest that pushed him into sobriety -- and even helped other along the way.
"I had a woman write me down at [Lakeview Health] and said he son was real bad on it and bath salts and when he saw how I acted on T.V. he said, 'Mom, do I act like that?' and she said, 'Five-times worse and he quit doing everything."
Sanborn is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 14 for D.W.I. and "inhaling toxic vapors."