Beware of new synthetic street drugs warn officials
The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) has issued an alert regarding the growing national popularity of new synthetic drugs with names like 2CE, 2CI, and 25i-NBOM3.
This new class of illegal drugs called hallucinogenic amines are new alternatives for existing club drugs, such as Ecstasy. The IPC reports a recent increase in the number of calls coming in throughout the state regarding use of the new drugs.
“These drugs have structures closely related to drugs like mescaline and other amphetamines that cause mind-altering effects similar to those of LSD,” officials at the IPC say. “However, the effects of hallucinogenic amines can be far worse than those of better-known club drugs.”
Since the drugs are relatively new, little is known about their potency and possible side effects. The IPC reports 12 cases involving hallucinogenic amines so far this year. Symptoms include hallucinations—some lasting more than 24 hours—as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, agitation and seizures.
According to Dr. Randy Hebert, emergency medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, the medical center has yet to see any confirmed cases of hallucinogenic amines; however, since the drugs are difficult to differentiate from other club drugs, he says it’s difficult to say for certain there have been no cases.
“A lot of times, we won’t know unless the patient tells us what they took,” Dr. Hebert says. “We may see a lot of agitation and fever, but we wouldn’t know that it’s due to 2CE or another drug.”
When summer vacations begin and young people have more time on their hands, he said there is typically a rise in recreational drug use. However, Dr. Hebert cautions against panic around the threat of these new synthetic drugs.
“I don’t want to see this get blown out of proportion,” he says. “Everyone should stay away from these sorts of drugs. But it’s far more common for people to be affected by alcohol and prescription drug abuse.”
According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 80,000 Americans die annually from drinking too much alcohol and nearly 15,000 die every year from prescription drug overdose.
“At this time, it’s relatively uncommon for people to die from this (hallucinogenic amine use),” Dr. Hebert says. “I think alcohol and pain medication abuse is the real issue. I see these daily in the emergency department.”
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