NBOMe Leads to Teen Overdose Deaths

By Bryan Le 03/04/14

The drug, meant to be a knockoff of LSD, has proven fatal for U.S. teens.

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Not the drugs you think they are.

NBOMe, a designer drug meant to imitate LSD, has been held accountable for twenty overdose deaths in the United States.

Cassidy, 16, almost became another statistic when her heart stopped while using NBOMe. "I was gone for about 45 seconds to a minute, I don't know how that happened, but I'm extremely lucky to be alive today," Cassidy said. Fortunately, her teacher, a trained EMT, happened to drive by when Cassidy collapsed and had a seizure on the road.

"Every kid I knew in Sherwood, Oregon was doing it," she said.

NBOMe, or 25i, is yet another attempt by enterprising chemists to create barely legal drugs that imitate real - and relatively safer - drugs. NBOMe, served on blotter paper, is made to act like LSD, much like how K2 and Spice are meant to mimic marijuana and bath salts are meant to mimic crack.

Cassidy and 17 other friends tried the drug that day, with one of her friends also experiencing seizures.

"I started seizuring. I fell and hit the concrete," Cassidy said in recounting the incident. "It was really painful after waking up from it, my entire body was stiff and tense,  it hurt to move. I don't remember having the seizure. I blacked out."

NBOMe and designer drugs like it are sold online and by word of mouth. Because no one but the manufacturers know exactly what is put into the drugs, using them is a dangerous game.

"These are dangerous chemicals. You are playing Russian roulette when you put these in your body," said Douglas James, DEA Assistant, Special Agent in Charge. "This drug, along with other designer drugs, are concerning to the DEA. I have three young daughters, these drugs are peddled to the youth of America."

One such American youth is 18-year-old Anthony Carlson, a freshman at Arizona State University who collapsed and died the day after putting a few drops of NBOMe in his nose.

"Hopefully it will help somebody make a better choice, I'm glad that I'm a living example rather than a dead one," Cassidy said.

The DEA now classifies NBOMe as a Schedule I drug, as it has no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter