A British woman in her 20s accidentally overdosed on 25I-NBOMe, which is also called “25I”, or “N-bomb”, and died in Paris. According to the police, the woman thought the substance was cocaine.
According to the news publication Heatst.com, the 29-year-old British woman visited one of her friends in Paris in April. In the night of April 29 and 30, they had held a party in an apartment, where the friend told the victim that she had obtained cocaine. However, the substance was not cocaine, it was N-bomb. Soon after ingesting the drug, the 29-year-old went into a coma for 11 days and died at the Lariboisière Hospital in Paris.
“The problem is that very little is known about [the drug’s] effects except that it is active from the microgram and therefore impossible to measure oneself,” Grégory Pfau, a pharmacist in the team of liaison and addictology care of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, said in a statement. Pfau added that users should be extremely cautious with such substances as N-bomb, or drugs that fall under the category of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) since users can only see instructions on the dosage on “specialized sites”.
25I-NBOMe is a psychedelic drug and derivative of the substituted phenethylamine psychedelic 2C-I. The substance was discovered in 2003 by chemist Ralf Heim at the Free University of Berlin, however, it did not emerge as a common recreational drug until 2010, when it was first sold by vendors specializing in the supply of research chemicals. According to the harm-reduction site Erowid, 25I-NBOMe is extremely potent and should not be snorted as this method of administration “appears to have led to several deaths in the past year”. As of August 2015, 25I-NBOMe has reportedly led to at least 19 overdose deaths in the United States. In June 2012, two teens in Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota fatally overdosed on 25I-NBOMe, resulting in long sentences for two of the parties involved and a Federal indictment against the Texas-based online vendor.
There are plenty of fatal overdoses associated to N-bomb in the United States, but in Europe, the drug did not cause many deaths. One major case happened on January 20, 2016, in Cork, Ireland, which left six teenagers hospitalized, one of whom later died. At least one of the teenagers suffered a cardiac arrest, according to reports, along with extreme internal bleeding.
The French paper stated that the death of the 29-year-old woman is believed as the first time anyone had died in France from N-bomb, the super-strength substance, which has similar effects as LSD.
Since N-bomb is illegal in many countries (Schedule I substance in the USA, Class A in the UK and Anklage I in Germany), the friend who gave the victim the drug has been charged with manslaughter and drug offenses. Police information also disclosed that law enforcement authorities are turning large efforts to find the supplier that sold the drug to the friend of the victim.