A bill that would classify the LSD-mimicking synthetic drug NBOMe, commonly known as "N-bomb," as an illegal controlled substance was ratified today by the General Assembly.
was passed by a Senate judiciary committee earlier this week and is now on its way to Gov. McCrory. If he signs the bill, N-bomb and its derivative compounds will be classified as Schedule I controlled substances.
N-bomb featured prominently in a story we wrote last year
, which chronicled the life of Apex teenager Timmy Castaneda, who died of an overdose in 2012 after ingesting the synthetic drug.
Rep. Darren Jackson
, D-Wake, one of the lead sponsors of the bill, circulated our article to House judicial committee members as the bill was being legislated, he said.
"The Timmy Castaneda case was the basis for this bill," said Jackson, who learned of the case after speaking to a victim's rights advocate at a Sentencing Commission hearing last year. In drafting the bill, he worked with Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Wilson, who prosecuted the Castaneda case, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.
N-bomb is made in China. "It's marketed as a natural form of LSD, but it's actually more dangerous than LSD," said Jackson.
Jackson said he has corresponded with the Castaneda family but has not met them. Castaneda's father, Tito, told us that he wanted to tell the story of his son's death to prevent future tragedies.
The teenager who sold the fatal drug to Castaneda, Ryan Laches, was convicted for sale of a counterfeit controlled substance. Last year, he pleaded guilty in federal court for selling N-bomb to another buyer and was sentenced to prison. His scheduled release date is Aug. 6.
Because it is a synthetic, N-bomb will almost certainly be tweaked by manufacturers seeking to avoid legal repercussions. A companion bill, HB 659
, passed both chambers and was signed by the governor this past May. It will allow the Joint Legislative Commission on Justice and Public Safety to determine whether state agencies may issue an emergency edict to schedule controlled substances without legislative action.
"It's probably something we'll have to deal with every year or two with an update bill," said Jackson, noting that it took the Medical Examiner's Office a full year to determine the fatal substance Castaneda had ingested. "I hope it doesn't take two or three years, like in Timmy's case, to get something fixed."