The recent death of “Sons of Anarchy” actor Johnny Lewis further brought to light recent developments in the synthetic drug world. Of particular concern is the emergence of the popular synthetic drug “Smiles.” Smiles accounted for Mr. Lewis’ tragic descent into a sort of drug-addled craze, one that resulted in his allegedly killing his 81-year-old landlord and in his own death. But what exactly is Smiles? What are its effects, what is it comprised of, and how, in combating the disease of drug and alcohol addiction, worried should concerned families and dedicated addiction treatment centers truly be?

Smiles, like Other Drugs, is No Laughing Matter

The chemical name for Smiles is 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenethylamine, making Smiles a member of the “2C” family of drugs. 2C drugs are hallucinogenic and psychoactive in nature, altering the brain’s chemistry by creating an imbalance of dopamine and serotonin (so-called “pleasure hormones”). The psychoactive effects of Smiles can last upwards of eight hours, but, particularly troubling is that, because the onset of smiles may take considerable time, users typically take more than the “normal” dosage for fear that they did not take enough, thus compounding the effects of Smiles in a drastic fashion.

Sadly, little more is known about Smiles.

The Danger behind the Synthetic Drug Phenomenon

Like other synthetic drugs, because of the ease behind its formulation and procurement, Smiles has exploded onto the drug scene with little warning and little insight into the means by which we, as a society, should combat it. It is thought to be largely imported from other countries, though the details of its introduction are largely unknown, creating for an untenable situation for drug enforcement professionals. What is known is that Smiles severely affects brain function and that Smiles’ exact chemical composition and that of its analogs can be easily mimicked and reproduced by amateur chemists.

Smiles can come in tablet form, on pieces of blotter paper, or in powder form. If you suspect that someone in your family may be struggling with a Smiles addiction, or if you yourself are mired in its disastrous effects, please contact a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center and explore addiction treatment programs immediately.