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Wow. These new synthetic drugs are no joke.

Via NBC News:

Johnny Lewis, an actor in the popular “Sons of Anarchy” motorcycle-gang cable drama, died early Wednesday in Los Angeles, suspected of killing his 81-year-old former landlord, Catherine Davis, and possibly himself. Police think the 28-year-old rising star, who played Kip ‘Half-sack’ Epps on the FX show, may have been under the influence of a drug few have heard of, a substance known informally as “Smiles.”

It’s part of a new wave of synthetic drugs finding their way onto America’s streets and into its clubs. With the chemical name 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenethylamine, it is known by drug agents and chemists as 2C-I, part of a closely-related family of “2C” drugs. Like all the 2C drugs, it’s a psychoactive, hallucinogenic chemical that alter the brain’s balance of dopamine and serotonin. Smiles is particularly powerful, binding to serotonin receptors in the brain at 20 times the rate of another drug used in schizophrenia research, according to an experiment performed by Purdue University chemists.

The effects of 2C-I, like those of LSD, can last up to eight hours. But because the effects can take time to appear, users may think they haven’t taken enough to get the desired high, and so take more, risking overdose. The drug can be taken as small tablets, on pieces of blotter paper like LSD, or in powder form, often mixed with something else, like chocolate. Labs, often located in Europe or Asia, can use legal, common chemicals to produce huge batches of the drugs. Once one formulation is discovered, and banned, all the chemists have to do is slightly alter the structure of the molecules to create another, potentially legal, substitute until that one is banned. There is no known geographic hot spot for the 2C drugs, unlike, say, methamphetamine, which became known as a rural, small-town problem. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration believes that most, if not all, the 2C drugs are being imported to the country, not made domestically.



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