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SALT LAKE CITY — A new designer drug known as "Smiles" has made its way from Europe to the US. But don't let the name fool you. The drug is already being blamed for the death of two teens in the Midwest.
The drug is a hallucinogenic, made popular in Europe. The Utah Department of Health and police here in Utah don't know much about it yet. But there's growing concern about its use in the US. In July, the federal government made it illegal.
"I bet it's already here," said Patrick Fleming with the Salt Lake County Division of Behavioral Health Services. "I mean, this is a major crossroads and so it's already probably here. We just haven't seen it yet."
Synthetic drugs, like spice and bath salts, have made headlines as the new high. Now C2-I, which goes by the street name "smiles," appears to be the up-and-coming drug among teens and young adults. It commonly sold in powder form or as a pill.
One young man took the drug and posted his experience on YouTube.
"At the moment, I am completely and fully submerged," said the user. "If you can't tell by my eyes, in a psychedelic world known as 2C-I."
"It's got properties that are almost amphetamine-type in character," said Fleming. "They kind of make the heart race and they kind of give you a lot of energy and kind of euphoric type of thing."
But the effects have proven fatal. Elija Stai and Christian Bjerk ofGrand Forks, North Dakota died this summer and their deaths have been linked to C2-I. There have been other reports of overdoses in the Midwest.
For Fleming, it's concerning.
Parents need to watch what's going on with their kids and notice any changes in behavior and grades. He also says if parents talk to their kids early on about drugs, the more resistant they'll be to them.