WASHINGTON – The Loudoun County Sheriff’s office says three teens ended up in the hospital earlier this month after they took what is believed to be a synthetic, illegal drug known as 25i.
Known by its street names as N-bomb or smiles, the drug can cause violent behavior, disorientation, seizures and even death, according to the sheriff’s office.
It is often marketed as LSD but it’s a much more potent drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Police were called to a home in Landsdowne on April 14 for a report of three disorderly teens. When officers arrived, a girl was yelling incoherently and kicked at officers. Two other girls found inside the home were acting “erratically.”
All three were taken to the hospital for treatment and were later released. Police believe they ingested the drug.
Dangerous in small doses, the synthetic hallucinogen is believed to have killed 19 people across the country in 16 months. Those who died were between the ages of 15 and 29, according to the DEA.
Because of the risks, the synthetic drug was banned for two years beginning in November 2013. A review is currently underway to determine whether 25i should remain illegal or whether it should be a controlled substance like other medical drugs, says DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno.
The drug typically comes in a liquid and is applied to the tongue or nose with an eyedropper. Sometimes the liquid is added to the back of stickers and then the stickers are placed on the tongue, she says.
Popular at festivals, the drug is also marketed online from overseas sellers.
Unlike marijuana and cocaine, which are derived from plants, synthetic drugs are created in a lab. They are marketed as more familiar drugs, she says.
“People have no idea what are in these chemicals and what they are getting when they use these chemicals. So they are taking a huge chance with their health and their minds,” Carreno says.
WTOP’s Dick Uliano and Amanda Iacone contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on Facebook.