© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New designer drug makes an appearance in upstate New York

Now that the abuse of the designer drug bath salts seems to be easing, scientists are warning of a new chemical cocktail. The drug called "smiles" has started making an appearance in upstate New York.

It was about two weeks ago that upstate New York Poison Center toxicologist Alexander Garrard heard reports that smiles had started hitting the streets in upstate New York.

Garrard says smiles contorts chemical compounds in what's called the 2C-1 family of drugs. This results in a very potent compound that gives users a hallucinogenic as well as an amphetamine kind of high.

"It kind of amps up the system," Garrard says. "They have high blood pressure, a racing heart rate blood rate, they can become hyper-thermic, so an increased body temperatures and, as we've seen in the media, they can act out in violent ways."

There have been reports of some deaths associated with the drug in other parts of the country. Gerrard believes the drug is being sold on the streets, and can be taken in pill form. It can also be mixed with substances like chocolate.

After a summer when bath salts was the rage, Gerrard admits the fight against these constantly evolving designer drugs is frustrating.

"It's the same story coming up over and over again," Garrard says. "You hear, 'This new drug smiles,' and maybe it's being called lucky four, and you're like, 'What is that?' and it is a little frustrating because it sometimes feels like you're fighting an uphill battle."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.