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Designer Drug Now In Georgia

It’s called NBOMe, a new designer drug that causes hallucinations and combative behavior. And according to the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, it’s showing up in Georgia.

NBOMe is the chemical abbreviation for 2-(4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl -N-[(2-methoxyphenyl)methyl]ethanamine. It was first discovered in 2003 and investigated as a compound for use in radio-labeling. However, when the hallucinogenic properties of the chemical became known, it quickly moved into the illegal market. NBOMe has been placed on temporary status as a schedule I drug (similar to LSD) by the DEA and is illegal across the United States.

In what is becoming more common, the drug isn’t necessarily being smuggled into our state. Users can find it online and simply have it shipped. Because it can’t be easily detected by smell or taste, the liquid is absorbed into paper or sold as a powder or liquid without drawing suspicion.

The compound’s use as a tag in PET scans may be related to its hallucinogenic properties. It binds strongly to receptors in the brain thought to be involved in schizophrenia and depression – the 5-HT2a receptor subtype. The link with mental illness would offer a clue to why the drug makes people hallucinate and become violent.

According to reporting from Atlanta’s WSB TV, a GDEA spokesman said, “All it takes is one little slip up, one little dip too much, and someone could overdose and die from it.”

It remains to be seen whether the attraction for users will overcome the fear of overdose. Generally, hallucinogens have a very safe dosage profile, and even LSD doesn’t have a known deadly dose. The problem may be more about ease of access than about choosing which drug to try. A younger generation, largely removed from the “drug scene” may decide to try whatever they can buy, using the Internet as a go-between.


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