Bath salts haven't gone away. Just this week, a California smoke shop owner was arrested with half a ton of the stuff. But with a federal crackdown and heightened awareness of their face-eating side effects, their use (or at least the panicked reporting on it) is on the decline.
Now filling the void is N-Bomb, a newish, LSD-like designer drug that offers users a cheap and, until the Drug Enforcement Agency banned it last month, legal high. Like its predecessors, it's often sold at convenience stores under various product labels (e.g. "Smiles" and "251") and on the Internet. Also like its predecessors, it can have terrifying side effects.
The Dallas Morning News has a thoroughly depressing piece this morning on Montana Sean Brown, a 15-year-old freshman at Frisco's Heritage High School who died on Saturday morning after he and his two brothers experimented with N-Bomb or one of its derivatives.
According to the paper he and his brothers, 16 and 20, had consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms last summer and enjoyed the experience. When they couldn't find them this past weekend, they bought some weed and what they thought was LSD but which the parents now believe was N-Bomb.
The origins of N-Bomb are innocent enough. It was first developed a decade ago by a German pharmacology student researching a specific brain receptor linked to hallucination. But once the drug began being used for recreational purposes, and once shady entrepreneurs like these guys profiled earlier this year in the Houston Press began marketing it to consumers, the injuries and deaths started piling up.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.