NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new designer drug, both deadly and dangerous, is hitting the streets.
It’s called “Smiles” and looks like powdered sugar. Investigators in Los Angeles believe it’s likely responsible for the death of actor Johnny Lewis, who allegedly killed his landlady before falling to his death off a building.
Psychologist and addiction recovery expert Dr. Harris Stratyner, of the Caron Treatment Center, said it’s a frightening drug.
“It’s a very, very, very dangerous drug that’s being marketed through the Internet to very young teenagers — 12, 13, 14 15,” Stratyner said.
He said it’s responsible for the deaths of several teenagers across the country, and while it’s more popular on the West Coast, it’s making its way to our area.
“I think I’ve actually heard the name before, but I’ve never actually seen it and I don’t know anything about it,” 15-year-old Amanda Curtin told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu on Thursday.
It’s a synthetic drug made out of chemicals, similar to the drug known as bath salts. Dr. Stratyner said it’s like a mix of LSD and ecstasy and even the way it is ingested can be appealing to young people.
“They mix it in white powder form with chocolate or other confection, and they eat it like candy,” Stratyner said.
It can take a while to work, so teens get impatient and keep taking more, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. So it’s key that parents recognize some of the signs of the drug.
If someone is on the drug, they may show signs of heavy sweating, being very thirsty or talking gibberish, speaking very quickly and making no sense.
Another danger is that the drugs are being manufactured in illegal labs with no quality control, so there’s no way to know what’s actually in them, doctors said.
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