On the streets it’s call “Smiles,” but it’s nothing to smile about. The newest synthetic drug to hit the streets, 2C-I, is responsible for two teen deaths in the Midwest. Witnesses described the 17-year-old boy as “shaking, growling, foaming at the mouth and smashing his head against the ground, over and over again.” Two hours later he stopped breathing. The previous night another area teen was found face down on a sidewalk. His death was also linked to the drug.
Usually sold in powder form, 2C-I can be taken as a tablet as well. The designer drug is similar to Bath Salts in its appearance (a white, crystalline powder) and is typically snorted or ingested. Users often mix the powder with a stabilizing substance, such as chocolate or candy before ingesting.
Users say the psychedelic trips that result from taking “Smiles” can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and are similar to a “roller coaster through hell.” The effects of 2C-I are likened to a combination of MDMA and LSD, only more intense. Overdoses are commonplace because 2C-I is being made by dealers and “hobbyists,” who buy chemicals over the internet and then distribute the drug to unsuspecting teens.
“While we’re not seeing any evidence of ‘Smiles’ here in Santa Clarita, being forewarned is being forearmed,” said certified addiction specialist Cary Quashen, president and founder of Action Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs. “Popular drug trends have a way of working themselves across the United States. Parent education is of the utmost importance and the only way to keep up with what our teens are thinking and using when it comes to drug abuse. It behooves us to have an open and honest daily dialog with our teens and then teach them to say no.”
Quashen went on to say that as of July 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies 2C-I as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it illegal to manufacture, buy, sell or possess the drug.
“Many of our teens buy synthetic drugs via the internet and from ‘head shops,’ which sell drug paraphernalia as well as synthetic and designer drugs. And of course they buy them or get them free from their friends,” Quashen said. “The problem is they don’t always know what they are getting and the potency of the drug. It’s interesting to note that beyond ‘Smiles’ there is a newer drug called 25b-Nbome, which is a derivative of 2C-I and sold in tab form. Designer and synthetic drugs are manufactured so quickly that you can bet as quickly as law offices try to eradicate them, there’s another one in the development stages just around the corner.”
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