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"Smiles", "N-Bomb" and "C-Boom" are common names for synthetic drugs designed to produce a hallucinogenic high, but they are often more dangerous than other drugs with similar effects. These drugs are banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under the Controled Substances Act and are also illegal in the state of Indiana under synthetic drug and synthetic drug "lookalike" laws. According to reports from the DEA and local news agencies, Smiles has been linked to a number of hospitalizations and deaths across the United States.1
History and Facts
Smiles is a common name for synthetic drugs which contain the chemicals 25i-NBOMe, 25c-NBOMe and 25b-NBOMe and variations on these drugs.1 They may also be referred to as "research chemicals" although according to a pharmacology professor, "There is hardly any research at all in the scientific literature on these things, even in animals, much less any sort of formal safety evaluation in humans." The drugs were originally created to produce a hallucinogenic high similar to LSD, but according to researchers they also have qualities similar to amphetamines like meth.2
Before 2012 these chemicals were legal which gave users, mostly teens and young adults, the impression that these drugs produced a "safe high".3 In November 2013 the DEA issued a two year ban on the substances while they determine if they should be made permanently illegal.1
These drugs are targeted to a similar young adult audience as Spice, bath salts and other synthetic drugs. A number of people have overdosed or died at concerts or music festivals, while others died believing they were consuming a different substance.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
These drugs can be consumed in a number of ways including as a liquid, powder, pills, on blotter paper, or laced in drinks or edible items.4,5 Since these delivery methods conceal the nature of the drug, it makes it particularly difficult to determine what an individual has actually consumed.
Since the chemicals in these drugs frequently change as producers attempt to avoid legal bans on chemicals, users don't often know what they are consuming, and a person's reaction can change from dose to dose. Because there is little to no consistency in the quality or concentration of these products, it makes it difficult for the young people consuming these drugs to determine what constitutes a non-life threatening dose. Reported side effects of Smiles include:
- Nausea and vomiting2
- Irregular heartbeat2
- Cardiac and respiratory arrest6
- Anxiety and agitation5
- Depression and violent episodes5
Because of the unknown nature of these substances, if you believe someone has consumed these drugs, it is important to contact emergency personnel immediately as the user's life may be in danger.
According to the DEA, Smiles is linked to the deaths of at least 19 American under the age of 30 between March 2012 and August 2013.1 Communities in Indiana have sent out alerts regarding these drugs after responding to overdoses and deaths.5,7
A 16 year old Indianapolis youth died after taking "N-bomb" while staying at a friend's house. The drugs were located near his body when emergency responders were called to the scene.3
An 18 year old in Hamilton County, Indiana died of cardiac arrest after an accidental overdose of 25b-NBOMe. The three other individuals in the house were also hospitalized.8
In 2012 a concert festival attandee suffered from seizures and died after a friend watched him take one drop of the substance. At least three other concertgoers were admitted to a local emergency room after taking similar drugs.9
A North Carolina teen died in 2012 after taking two hits of 25i-NBOMe. A friend with him at the time reported that the teen had taken LSD. Emergency responders found the teen unresponsive and having a seizure — he later passed away.10
Recover and Help
If you are concerned about the warning signs of synthetic drug addiction in the life of someone you know or love, there is help. The resources page of our website has links to more information about Smiles as well as contact information for facilities in Elkhart County that can assist individuals in reclaiming their lives from the influence of addiction.