New designer drug appears in area

Agents of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force have issued a warning about a new synthetic drug that left a woman unconscious from an overdose in Winchester.

Lauren Cummings, community relations and crime prevention specialist with the Winchester Police Department, said Friday the woman survived the overdose after officers with the Winchester Police Department found her in the 400 block of North Loudoun Street on Tuesday.

Authorities say the victim had overdosed on a synthetic compound found added to a type of candy called Smarties. The overdose marked the first time that the task force has investigated a case involving the drug-laced candies.

Overdoses from Smarties laced with the drug can be fatal. The drug lacing the candy can also cause seizures, unconsciousness, sweating, elevated heart rate and swelling of the brain. The effects are unpredictable and vary from person to person.

Law enforcement officials say the synthetic compound, commonly referred to as 25I, has been applied to rolls of Smarties candy with different amounts of the drug added to different pieces.

Law enforcement officials believe Smarties laced with 25I in the Winchester area are purchased online, not through ordinary local retail stores.

“They’re going to the website to specifically purchase it, knowing these candies are laced with the drugs,” Cummings said of those who consume Smarties laced with drugs.

Law enforcement officials in jurisdictions outside of Winchester said they have received no reports so far of the drug-laced Smarties appearing in their communities.

Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly said he has heard warnings about drug-laced Smarties but hasn’t seen any reported incidents of them in Strasburg.

“I’m sure we’ll get it sooner or later, but not yet,” Sutherly said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com