SALT LAKE CITY — The DEA is warning parents about a new drug that is easily accessible to teens and is already in Utah. The street drug is known as N-BOMe, Smiles, or 25i; but no matter what it's called, the consequences can be deadly.
The drug is most commonly taken like breath strips — users put them on their tongue, and a few seconds later it's dissolved, releasing the drug into their system.
It's also very common as liquid drops, but the DEA said no matter the way it's ingested, it can have a deadly affect.
The drug is sold all over the Internet and is very inexpensive, which can make teens gravitate toward it. The DEA acknowledges that the abusers obtain these drugs through unknown sources at this point.
The agency claims N-BOMe jumped on the radar in 2011 after several shipments of the compounds that make it up were confiscated by U.S. Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol.
Toxicologists who've dealt firsthand with the drug claim it's as potent as methamphetamine and LSD combined.
The Utah Poison Control Center has taken calls related to these drugs, but no Utah fatalities.
"These seem to be a little bit more potent and more toxic than some of the other ones that we've seen," said Barbara Crouch, executive director of the Utah Control Center.
In other states, users have shown very aggressive behavior.
"We've seen a lot more severe out comes, like seizures; and there have been several fatalities nationwide with these compounds," Crouch said.
The DEA wrote up a seven-page document recently trying to make N-BOMe a controlled substance, calling it "necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety."
On Friday, all three of the components that make this drug were listed as illegal for two years under the Controlled Substance Act.
According to the DEA, between 2011 and 2013, reports of N-BOMe spread between a number of states but it was most prevalent in Georgia, the Carolina's, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Louisiana. Utah also made it on the bottom of the list.
What's the risk to you? Something as innocent as touching the drug can cause health effects and as little as one drop of the N-BOMe can have the potentially deadly effects.
When talking to teens, substance abuse experts say the overall relationship is the key, with open and honest information.
"It's something we want to talk about early and often," said Christina Zidow, director of Odyssey House, a Salt Lake City substance abuse rehab center.
Acknowledge that there will always be something new, Zidow said, and that these drugs are dangerous.
"We want to work on the big picture, because we know there's always going to be something different," she said. "There will always be something less expensive and more dangerous."