EAST BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – Local police departments, district attorneys and federal drug agents are sounding a warning about a powerful designer drug that’s growing in popularity among teenagers.
The synthetic drug is called NBOMe and is also known as “Smiles” or “25i”. It is marketed to teens as legal LSD.
Monday, Everett Police put out a warning after finding it in their city. Last month an Acton woman was indicted in federal court after allegedly selling the drug to a Concord teen who overdosed. Last year, the drug took a deadly turn in East Bridgewater.
“The tragedy that has happened to us, I would never wish on any other mother,” says Erin Valentine of East Bridgewater. Her 14-year-old daughter Emily died after just one hit of NBOMe.
“I had not heard of it until two or three days after we were in the hospital,” Valentine explains. But Emily had and it was easy for her to get. Erin says her daughter bought the drug from an even younger teen at a playground near their house.
NBOMe is just one of an ever growing number of synthetic drugs marketed to teenagers. It comes in small tabs with cartoons or colorful pictures on them. It sells for less than $5 per hit.
Dr. Lynn Farrugia, an emergency room doctor at UMass Medical Center says the results can be deadly.
“What we tend to see is increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, paranoia, delirium, where people don’t know what’s going on around them,” she says.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan told the I-Team she has had cases of teens using NBOMe in at least four communities.
“We have seen at least a couple kids in Middlesex County have overdose reactions, fortunately not fatal,” she says.
She says the drug is frightening for how easy it is to get and because while the federal government has declared it a Schedule 1 substance, it’s still technically legal in Massachusetts.
“It’s cheap. It is easily concealable and it is targeted at kids. And it’s not something kids are going to appreciate the danger of,” Ryan explained.
Currently there is a bill before Massachusetts lawmakers that would make NBOMe and similar chemical compounds illegal. It’s a law Erin Valentine is fighting for. In the meantime, she urges parents to be aware of what’s on the streets and is warning them to be on the lookout for NBOMe.”
“Unfortunately in this case, it was lethal and took away my first born child, the most precious person in my life.”