A Chesterfield mom is speaking out about a dangerous new synthetic drug that she said nearly took the life of her daughter during a party on New Year's Eve.
St. Louis County police are also issuing a warning Tuesday about the hallucinogenic N-Bomb, a potent, LSD-like substance.
Carley B. Alves, a resident of the Baxter Ridge subdivision, described the incident to the Chesterfield City Council at a meeting Monday night.
Alves said she learned about N-Bomb after her 15-year-old daughter and Ursuline Academy freshman was brought home from the party in an incoherent state.
"Every time she would open her eyes she would see bright lights, so she had to keep her eyes closed," Alves said. "Her perception of sound changed. She thought she was whispering, but she was told she was screaming. She also had uncontrollable body movements and then she also had—which is the scariest part—difficulty breathing."
Alves learned later by talking with other teens at the party that an individual there had been offering acid, a common name for LSD, and that it possibly could have been slipped into her daughter's drink.
Alarmed by the incident, Alves has contacted various drug enforcement agencies in the area. At least one officer said the symptoms she described were similar to N-Bomb; she also earned the attention of a St. Louis Drug Enforcement Agency official. The official left a voicemail for Alves, which she played for Patch.
Authorities asked Alves not to give out the DEA official's name. In the voicemail, the agent confirmed that N-Bomb is a new drug circulating that is similar to acid that it is "considered extremely dangerous." The agent told Alves she would like to speak to her further about what happened.
The party Alves' daughter attended occurred in a Wildwood home and, according to Alves, primarily included students from Marquette High School.
Council Agrees to Discuss the Issue
After hearing Alves remarks, Chesterfield Councilman Bob Nation asked that a discussion about the drug and its use be added to the agenda for the next meeting of the council's public health and safety committee.
Alves told Patch after the meeting that her mission is to raise awareness about the drug and that she would be willing to work with officials in whatever way possible.
"I thought I would bring the awareness out. I was totally caught off guard," Alves said. "I know about heroin, I know about K2 and I educate my kids, but this; I was just shocked."
That surprise is part of the reason why her daughter wasn’t checked into a hospital until the next day. Alves said she initially thought her state was because she drank a potent mixture of Mountain Dew and Everclear, a liquor that is 95 percent alcohol by volume, that had been available at the party.
The teen was brought home by her boyfriend’s father, so Alves made sure her daughter was no longer throwing up and then put her to bed. Only later did she realize the threat was more serious than simply having too much to drink.
At the party, Alves daughter was one of the kids offered acid, but she refused. Still, even merely touching the drug could be enough for it to be absorbed through the skin, according to the DEA agent who contacted Alves.
A Dangerous Drug
At this point, it's likely impossible for Alves to prove that her daughter had taken N-Bomb through testing, in part because of the time that passed before she received medical attention and also because the drug is so new that there are few effective screens for it.
Although relatively new, it's already been linked to a handful of deaths across the country, including one in New Orleans where a 21-year-old male died from a single drop.
As a synthetic drug, its legality falls into a hazy area and there are no real statistics tracking its use. Other synthetic drugs, such as K2, have grown in popularity quickly before becoming illegal.
In many cases, these drugs may be similar but chemically distinct to other substances, thereby temporarily evading the law.
Alves said she was told by an law enforcement officials that N-Bomb is not yet technically illegal in Missouri. However, it has already prompted legislation in other areas, including Louisiana.