As of November 15 , 2013, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the synthetic phenethylamines 25I-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, and 25B-NBOMe illegal drugs under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). These three NBOMe’s will be listed as Schedule I for the next two years. These drugs are marketed online and through illicit channels as illicit hallucinogens such as LSD. They have been encountered as powders, oral liquid drops, nose drops, soaked onto blotter paper, and absorbed within edible items.
The actual chemical names of today’s controlled synthetic drugs are:
- 2-(4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethanamine (25I-NBOMe);
- 2-(4-chloro-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethanamine (25C-NBOMe); and
- 2-(4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethanamine (25B-NBOMe).
There is no approved medical use for these particular synthetic drugs, nor has the Food and Drug Administration approved them for human consumption. No published studies exist on their safety for human use. The NBOMe compounds are substantially more potent than other hallucinogenic compounds, and the data suggest that extremely small amounts of these drugs can cause seizures, cardiac and respiratory arrest, and death. In fact, these NBOMe’s have been linked to the deaths of at least 19 Americans aged 15 to 29 between March of 2012 and August of 2013. Additionally, synthetic drugs like these have no consistent manufacturing and packaging processes and may contain drastically differing dosage amounts, a mix of several drugs, and unknown adulterants.
According to a recent DEA press release, this action is based on a finding by DEA Deputy Administrator Thomas Harrigan that the placement of these synthetic drugs into Schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety. The DEA published a Notice of Intent to do this on October 10, giving makers, sellers, and other possessors of these drugs a month to rid themselves of their current stocks and to cease making or buying more. During the next two years, DEA will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to determine if these drugs should be made permanently illegal.