The Middlesex County DA is Scared of the ‘N-Bomb’

By David Bloch | 09/03/2014

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan conducted a press conference today warning the public about a ‘new‘ synthetic drug called ‘N-bomb‘. She urged state legislators to take immediate action to curb further proliferation of the drug.

DA Marian Ryan on Twitter: Briefing this AM on NBOMe chemicals w .@repcoryatkins, .@ConcordMAPD Chief O’Connor on bill to update #MA drug law. http://t.co/LiFMC1fo5W


Ryan claimed the drug has been found in the wealthy towns of Concord, Acton, Westford, and Chelmsford. According to the Herald, “Concord [Police] are investigating an overdose that occurred within the last month.”

Ryan complained that because Massachusetts has no laws against ‘N-bomb’, “state and local police, when they discover these drugs, are powerless to seize them — and powerless to prosecute those who might be possessing or distributing them.”

Although there are no local or state laws prohibiting them, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) temporarily made the NBOMe synthetic phenethylamines, including ‘N-bomb’, schedule 1 illegal drugs last November.

The DEA order will last for at least two years, until a final determination regarding its permanent legal status is made by the federal government. The DEA classifies substances into schedules, (1 being the highest), “based upon their potential for abuse, their currently accepted medical use, and the degree of dependence the substance may cause.

The psychoactive compound 25I-NBOMe, also known as ‘N-bomb’, ‘Smiles’, or simply ‘25I‘, was discovered by a German chemist in 2003 and subsequently studied for its possible use as a radioactive tracer for PET scans of serotonin receptors in the nervous system.

Recreational use of the compound as a psychedelic drug was not documented until 2010. Like other synthetic drugs, because of its novelty not much is definitively known about 25I’s pharmacological effects and risks, outside of first-hand, self-reported accounts.

Such accounts describe “positive, euphoric, and almost relaxing” experiences, while others have recounted disastrous tales of panic attacks and near death experiences. Recreational users have reported similar effects to LSD, but because of its potency and unpredictability, a greater potential for misuse, overdose, and negative experiences.

Part of the potential danger of ’25I’ is that it is cheaper (and until recently, legal) to make than more traditional psychedelics – causing dealers to sell it online as LSD to unsuspecting, inexperienced users.

According to the DEA, 17 people in 11 states have died in the past two years as a result of taking the drug – 14 from “acute toxicity” and 3 from “unpredictable or violent behaviors.”

Despite Massachusetts not being one of the 11 states where deaths have been attributed to ’25I’, “State Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord) is backing a bill to label the drug a class B substance and make it illegal to possess or distribute.” Ryan is also determined to act:

“We will try to fast track it through the informal process so the public safety community will have the tools that they need.”

It seems that the State will continue to treat psychedelic drug use as a problem to be solved by the criminal justice system rather than a personal choice that should be regulated and decriminalized.