I’ve blogged before about designer street drugs being used as murder weapons (here, here and here to name a few). The drug choices are numerous and they are usually deadly in large doses. Using a street drug as a murder weapon can make for dramatic murder scenes and further develop interesting character flaws for the players in your storyline.
That being said, street drugs are relatively easy to obtain these days and it seems as soon as the DEA makes one designer drug illegal, enterprising backroom chemists develop “the next big thing” to temporarily transport users from reality into a dangerous world of make-believe—and maybe into an early grave.
One of the more interesting designer drugs that showed up in the 21st Century is a chemical with the short name of 2C-1. The chemical is actually 2,5-dimethyl-4-iodophenethylamine (hence the shortened name). On the street it’s often nicknamed “Smiles” because of its mind-altering effects, but I’ll refer to it as 2C-1 here.
The 2C-1 chemical is a psychedelic drug that possesses both powerful hallucinogenic and euphoric stimulant properties. This is one of the reasons it’s so popular and which distinguishes it from true stimulants such as meth or cocaine.
One of the major dangers of 2C-1 is that street users consider the substance only as a hallucinogenic drug, and this class of drugs often doesn’t cause lethal effects in larger doses like other stimulant drugs do. However, the stimulant properties of 2C-1 can cause serious bodily harm and death (as meth and cocaine do) in larger, uncontrolled doses.
The 2C-1 showed up in Amsterdam smart shops (psychoactive drug shops) in the early 2000s and its availability eventually spread to online recreational drug vendors in the United States, Asia and across Western Europe.
It’s commonly sold as a fluffy, sparkling-white powder that can easily be pressed into tablet form. Therefore, it can be taken orally as a tablet, snorted as a powder, smoked or even be absorbed rectally. Sometimes the powder is mixed with other substances, such as chocolate or candy, to make it more appealing for oral intake.
Some of the major advantages of 2C-1 use are that it’s relatively easy to obtain, fairly inexpensive and is virtually untraceable in blood tests. For these reasons, the drug is very popular as a substance of abuse among high school and college-aged kids.
The effects of 2C-1 are likened to a combination of Ecstasy and LSD, only much more intense. The onset of action occurs within one to two hours with an oral dose and after only 10 to 20 minutes when inhaled. The high lasts between four and twelve hours, depending on the dose, and some have experienced effects lasting up to 16 and 18 hours.
Aside from the psychedelic tripping and euphoric stimulation, 2C-1 can cause unpleasant side effects—especially in larger doses (more than 12 mg). These undesired effects include muscle twitching, a dangerous elevation in blood pressure, over-stimulation and obsessive behavior, nausea and vomiting, and even seizures.
Overdoses are evident with an individual hyperventilating, freaking out as if possessed and foaming at the mouth. Much larger doses can lead to brain damage, heart and kidney damage, and death.
Since street drugs are often sold by weight, drug dealers may add other substances of abuse to the 2C-1 mix and this increases the danger of toxic or lethal side effects, making 2C-1 or “Smiles” anything but a pleasant experience.
In this way, “Smiles” could land you in jail or even earn you a one-way trip to the morgue.
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!