October 1, 2012

‘Smiles’: New street drug tied to ‘Sons of Anarchy’ death

Posted Monday, Oct. 1, 2012

Johnny Lewis, who was a previously returning character on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” motorcycle-club drama, died Wednesday, Sept. 29, in Los Angeles and police are still figuring out the details, and discerning if drugs were involved.

NBC reports that Lewis is suspected of killing his 81-year-old former landlord, Catherine Davis, and possibly himself. Police also say they believe the actor had a synthetic drug in his system.

Police think the 28-year-old actor may have been under the influence of a drug few have heard of, a substance known informally as “Smiles.” 

Brian Alexander of NBC reports that “Smiles” is part of a new wave of synthetic drugs finding their way onto streets, clubs and other circles. The drug is closely related to other “2C family” drugs.

Like all 2C drugs, “Smiles” is a psychoactive, hallucinogenic chemical that alter the brain’s balance of dopamine and serotonin. According to Alexander, Purdue University chemists have found that Smiles is particularly powerful, binding to serotonin receptors in the brain at 20 times the rate of another drug used in schizophrenia research.

Effects can last up to eight hours, but are even more dangerous because those effects can take time to appear. This may cause users to think they haven’t taken enough to get the desired high, so they take more, risking overdose.

Click here to read the full story at NBC News.

Brian Alexander (www.BrianRAlexander.com) is co-author, with Larry Young Ph.D., of “The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction.”


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