Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:31 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:31:23 GMT
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An attorney in Wise faces more than a year in prison after pleading guilty to federal drug charges.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:20 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:20:40 GMT
Search-and-rescue crews worked through the night after a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary schoolMore >>
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:29 AM EDT2013-05-21 11:29:57 GMT
Richmond, VA—As 8News continues its investigation into the allegations against The ROC Church pastor Geronimo Aguilar who is accused of having sex with minors in Texas, another woman has come forward with allegationsMore >>
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:29 AM EDT2013-05-21 11:29:00 GMT
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - William H. Goodwin Jr. will become vice rector of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors in July. The university says in a news release that board members elected GoodwinMore >>
William H. Goodwin Jr. will become vice rector of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors in July.More >>
Los Angeles, CA--Los Angeles police are investigating whether the alleged murder-suicide
by "Sons of Anarchy" star Johnny Lewis last week is linked to "Smiles,"
the newest designer street drug gaining popularity in the U.S.
According to the LAPD, the Los Angeles area has seen a rise in the number of overdoses caused by Smiles, or 2C-I, a
hallucinogenic synthetic drug. They said that Lewis' behavior, in which he is suspected of attacking and killing his elderly landlady before jumping or falling of a balcony to his death, was consistent with the drug.
"The thing we are seeing lately here in Los Angeles and across the
country are synthetic designer-type drugs, something like 'bath salts,'
or the new one we've heard around here called 'smiles,'" LAPD Cmd.
Andrew Smith told ABC News.
The drug may be part of a growing trend of drugs created by tweaking
chemical formulas to constantly introduce new drugs to the market,
according to experts. Just as synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or Spice,
and Bath Salts became popular for brief periods of time over the past
years, Smiles may be the latest man-made drug to be hitting the club
scene, according to Dessa Bergen-Cico, professor of public health at
"Basically it's a very pure and potent form of ecstasy or MDMA,"
Bergen-Cico said. "So it's not necessarily a new drug, but a more potent
form of it."
Smiles, as it is known commonly, is sold in powder, pill or liquid form
and marketed as a drug with LSD or ecstasy-like effects, according to
the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is classified as a schedule-I
"Smiles is desirable because at least initially, it was 'legal,'" said
Dr. Constance Scharff, who does addiction research at the Cliffside
Malibu Treatment Center in California. "Where (smiles and bath salts)
are similar is that each has caused a tremendous number of calls to the
Poison Control Center because of adverse reactions and overdoses."
According to Rusty Payne, spokesman for the DEA, smiles can cause hallucinations, anxiety, panic attacks and seizures.
"It has a psychedelic effect so it can be associated with visual
hallucinations, distortions. It's not the same as LSD, but like with
peyote, mescaline, and LSD, where there's a potential for hallucination
with visual effects, depending on the mental state of the person, they
could have a pretty horrific trip," Bergen-Cico said.
Like bath salts, a drug that gained notoriety over the summer and led to
violent attacks by users across the country, smiles is a purely
synthetic drug manufactured in chemical labs, Bergen-Cico said.
"(Lewis') behavior sounds a little bit more like bath salts, or
embalming fluid, or PCP, as a very heavy kind of stimulant, with an
amphetamine kind of effect," Bergen-Cico said, noting that she was not
familiar with Lewis' case specifically.
The spread of smile's popularity has been slow, and limited to areas
that are close to a manufacturer or distribution line, Bergen-Cico
explained. Smiles is often imported from Mexico or China, where the
chemicals to make it are more easily obtained, and then trafficked
through the U.S. along the same routes as other, more popular drugs,
including marijuana and cocaine, she said.
Smiles has not hit critical mass yet, she noted. From 2006 to 2010,
there were fewer than 2,000 cases of 2C-I use reported to the forensic
labs, according to DEA figures. In a DEA report on 2C drug use, many
states with international borders saw the highest rates of use,
including Texas, Michigan, and Washington, along with Florida.
The DEA has had to move quickly to keep up with the evolving
combinations of chemicals that are forming new drugs.
Earlier this year, Congress moved to ban all forms of the 2C drug
family, including 2C-I. The bill, passed in June, also banned synthetic
marijuana, bath salts, and other chemically-engineered drugs.
But the rise of synthetic drugs may only be just beginning, Bergen-Cico
warned. As smiles users have begun posting videos of themselves while
high on the drug to YouTube and writing reviews of the drug's effects on
internet message boards, interest around the country has piqued.
"I can guarantee we're only just beginning to see this deluge of new
designer drugs, where there's something going to be coming out every
couple months. It's a money making business. As soon as it's saturated
or uncool or they get busted, they're going to find new things to
develop," she said.
The U.S., in response to the new market for designer drugs, must take
steps to both ban them and help users make safe decisions, she said.
"We need to find ways to reduce risk and demand, to let users find safe
easy access to information, and to let them know that if they are
concerned that someone is overdosing, being able to let them know what
their medical amnesty options are."