Forget about bath salts: the new terrifying designer drug panic, ushered in by the death of Sons of Anarchy actor Johnny Lewis after he violently murdered his landlady and her cat before falling off the roof of her Los Feliz home, concerns the phenethylamine 2C-1, or its street name, Smiles. It shares many properties with MDMA or ecstasy, but with chemical substitutions that also cause euphoric, psychedelic and introspective effects. All 2C drugs have been considered illegal substances since 1998.
Smiles are often mixed with chocolate, and their creation does, in fact, share similarities with the making of bath salts. They were previously implicated in two cases of teen deaths in East Grand Forks, North Dakota: one 18-year-old was found dead immediately, and another, a 17-year-old, stopped breathing after hitting his head repeatedly against a wall.
The troubled Lewis, a drug addict born into the Church of Scientology (which, famously, eschews prescription medication for mental illness), had likely been self-medicating as a result of his bipolar disorder for years. By the time his devoutly Scientologist father Michael realized he was ill and encouraged him to start on Abilify, a drug to treat schizophrenia and manic episodes, he was already deeply unstable, and took Abilify until he was no longer able to afford it.
Lewis was also an alumnus—a poster child, in fact—of the Scientology-run drug rehab program Narconon, which has since removed any trace of his representation of the program.