Medical experts have warned against the use of the psychedelic synthetic drug 25I-NBOMe or N-bomb, which this week led to the hospitalisation of six partygoers in the Republic of Ireland.
N-bomb has previously been linked to several deaths internationally and experts have warned that just one line of the drug snorted could prove lethal.
An unnamed 18-year-old Irishman is in critical condition in a Cork hospital, with tests revealing that he and a number of others had taken the drug at a house party.
Onlookers reported seeing one student dancing naked on shards of glass, while another was seen “eating the pavement”.
The Health Services Executive in Ireland warned: “People are advised that there is no quality control on these drugs. There are problems with purity and contaminants, and there is no way of checking that what is purchased or consumed is the intended substance.”
This follows on from a number of similar incidents in the UK, including one in Bristol in March 2015 when police linked the death of a man in his twenties to the drug.
A Police spokesperson stated at the time: “NBOMe produces effects that can last between six and ten hours, if taken under the tongue or orally and includes the following effects: euphoria, mental/physical stimulation, feelings of love/empathy, change in consciousness, unusual body sensations and can have highly negative effects such as confusion, shaking, nausea, insomnia, paranoia and unwanted feelings.“
Possession of NBOMe can lead to a sentence of up to seven years’ jail, while penalties for supplying the drug range from eight years in jail to a life sentence, according to Drugs advisory service Frank.
Small amounts of powder can generate large amounts of the drug – up to 20 million doses from 1kg -which makes it potentially highly profitable.
Marketed as “legal” or “natural“ LSD, N-bomb developed for mapping serotonin receptors in the brain. It has become one of the most frequently used hallucinogenic stimulants, according to the UN.
The UK Home Office announced in June 2014 that 25I-NBOMe would be made a class A drug, alongside every other N-benzyl phenethylamine drug.
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1