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NBOMes: The LSD Impersonator That Kills

Music and drug use are undeniably connected. It’s not something specific to the electronic music scene, despite what media sensationalism claims. As a preface, we do not condone taking substances at concerts, and believe the music should be enough, but we’re not going to pretend that people don’t do them. Most of all, we want you to be safe.

Unfortunately, that’s something that’s becoming harder and harder to do. We’ve talked before about the dangers of ‘molly’. Supposedly MDMA, ‘molly’, in actuality, could be anything from a placebo to a terrifyingly dangerous research chemical.


But that’s ecstasy. It’s been notoriously impure since it entered the scene, so the deceptions aren’t really a surprise. LSD, or ‘acid’, however, tends to be perceived as a relatively benign substance.

Enter the NBOMe. It’s a drug that exists somewhere in the quasi-legal realm of research chemicals, a substance that possess a different structure than their illegal brethren while mimicking their effects—or even something completely new. The health consequences are largely unstudied, and our knowledge of their effects is anecdotal.

In short, they’re a complete unknown. And a couple of these research chemicals, those in the 25x-NBOMe series, are being sold as ‘acid’ at concerts and festivals to unsuspecting customers. First synthesized in 2003 by Ralf Heim, NBOMes are psychedelics that instill the user with strong visual alterations and slight perception shifts. However, they also occasionally cause seizures, vasoconstriction, and death.


We don’t want to incite fear, but people are dying. Kids are dying. Our scene’s reputation worsens, yes, but people are dying. We don’t even know the lethal dosage of NBOMes, as some users have felt fine after doses above three milligrams; other users experience convulsions and disaster at just one.

Merely knowing they exist isn’t going to help, though. They’re commonly sold on strips of paper, or ‘tabs’, just like LSD, and the amount each strip contains can vary wildly. Identifiable by a bitter, metallic taste and mild numbing, by the time those signs are apparent, it’s already too late.

So, what do you do?

First and foremost, we recommend avoiding drugs, but we understand that that’s an unrealistic expectation. Therefore, the ONLY way to ensure safety is to get the compound tested. Because of the RAVE act, venues cannot test substances for you without legally being considered enablers, but there are organizations such as DanceSafe that exist to keep you protected.

If getting it tested by an organization or a lab is out of the question, there are inexpensive, intuitive home-kits available online. Do not ingest anything without knowing its identity under any circumstances. Please, don’t fall victim to NBOMes, and, to keep them safe, give the people you care about access to this information as well. We’ll keep you updated on Facebook or Twitter, and we want to hear your stories and experiences in our comments. Rave safe, rave smart.


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Dance Music NW will notify you when there is breaking news in the Pacific Northwest nightlife industry.

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Dance Music NW will notify you when there is breaking news in the Pacific Northwest nightlife industry.