What Are NBOMes?

drug abuse vs dependenceNBOMes are psychedelic drugs similar in effect to LSD. The drug has different pronunciations, but on the street, they are often called N-Bombs. It appears that the drug reached the street market in 2010, and by December 2012, it was on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s radar.

As the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction reports, from 2008 to 2013, there were 233 new drugs on the street, including NBOMes. There is a variety of NBOMes on the market, but all are N-Benzyl-Oxy-Methyl derivatives of phenethylamines such as 2C-I and 2C-B. There are at least three popular NBOMes, including:

  • 25I-NBOMe (known for short as 25I of 25i)
  • 25C-NBOMe (25C)
  • 25B-NBOMe (25B)

According to user reports, compared to LSD, NBOMes are associated with less introspection, but they produce a strong visual and sensory psychedelic experience.

NBOMes may be taking over the acid-style drug market, or at least are a formidable rival to better-known and longer-established LSD.

As NBOMes are newer to market, information about this drug is still developing. The drug is consumed as a freebase power and also buccally on a paper blotter, which is absorbed in the mouth. The blotter form of NBOMes has led some users to consume it under the mistaken belief that it is LSD/acid.

NBOMes and LSD may look the same on blotter paper, but LSD is usually tasteless or metallic in flavor, while some NBOMes users report a strong bitterness, though some distributors may add a fruit or mint flavor. The DEA crackdown on LSD in the 2000s resulted in a lesser amount of LSD on the market, but unfortunately, it opened up the floodgates for substitutes like the more dangerous NBOMes to proliferate.

Side Effects of Use

Known side effects of NBOMes include:

  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Swelling
  • Increased blood pressure

NBOMes are potent and active below one milligram. A dangerous dose can be as low as three to five milligrams (for a point of reference, a large grain of kosher salt is over five milligrams).

At high doses, 25I (and possibly some other NBOMes) can cause users to become delirious and exhibit dangerous behavior or even lead to a pharmacological-related death.

NBOMes in the News

According to a 2014 CBS report, three teens in Virginia were hospitalized after taking 25I, which also goes by the street name “smiles.” While CBS did not report a fatality in this case, other users have not been so fortunate. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 25I was involved in the deaths of at least 19 young Americans, aged 15 to 29, between March of 2012 and August of 2013.

One of the greatest dangers of NBOMes is that while users may start off with a euphoric feeling, the drug can cause them to become violent and act erratically. The high potency can make this drug difficult to tolerate.

In response to the dangers NBOMes present, criminal controls are now in place. Recently, the DEA categorized 25I as a Schedule I narcotic. This classification is reserved for drugs with the greatest risk of dependence and abuse. This criminal classification is set to last for two years, during which time the Department of Health and Human Services must determine if it should be made permanently legal.

Added risks associated with this designer drug include the lack of any consistency in its illegal manufacture. Potency can vary greatly batch to batch, which translates into a higher risk of overdose. According to CBS, NBOMes are sold online, and for a low cost at only $5 to $10 per dose. The psychedelic experience and affordability attracts young users, which is always dangerous.

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported on a teen who died just hours after taking 25I. According to the autopsy, the death was the result of 25I toxicity. From the standpoint of law enforcement, the case was particularly significant because five teenagers were part of the drug dealing chain responsible for this death. To set an example, and send a clear message of zero tolerance, prosecutors charged the teen drug dealers with third-degree murder.The problem of teens selling to teens is likely not isolated to Minnesota. The investigation into the Minnesota teen’s death revealed that the drug ring used social media (such as Facebook) as part of their sales strategy. Social media and the Internet may be the new frontier of drug sales, and hard for law enforcement to infiltrate. While prosecutors can make an example of dealers, at the point of prosecution, lives are already lost. When it comes to new drugs like 25I and other NBOMes, public education and prevention efforts are key.

Get Help Today

getting helpAt Michael’s House, our team of addiction specialists has expert clinical experience in the treatment of various types of drug abuse. Although NBOMes are a relative newcomer to the street drug market, abuse of this drug can be a signal of vulnerability to drug abuse in general. Our rehab services can help you or your loved one not only to recover from physical dependence on drugs but also to understand the deeper root causes of drug abuse. If you’d like to learn more about the treatment services we offer, call our admissions coordinators today.

Speak with an Admissions Coordinator 760-548-4032