Smiles: Not the Good Kind

30 Sep

The recent murder of an elderly woman and the possible suicide of actor Johnny Lewis (Sons of Anarchy) smacked of mental illness, drug abuse, or more likely both. Lewis apparently beat his landlady, 82-year-old Catherine Davis, to death, attacked a neighbor, and then fell or jumped from a roof to his own death. The insanity and violence of attacks such as this always raises the possibility of drugs and mental illness.


On first look it seemed to be classic for PCP (Phencyclidine or Angel Dust) or Methamphetamine. Both if these drugs can cause acute psychotic breaks and violent behavior. But maybe something else was involved. Something fairly new.



Smiles can be gotten as a white powder or compressed into pills

Sound so innocent doesn’t it. It is actually 2C-1, a form of hallucinogenic amphetamine that can be very destructive. Another gift from the infamous Alexander Shulgin.

Why the cute name? To attract young users of course.


11 responses to “Smiles: Not the Good Kind

  1. August McLaughlin

    September 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Thank you for naming the victim. Too few media outlets mentioned Catherine, who I’ve learned was a remarkable person.


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      October 1, 2012 at 8:13 am

      It’s always about the victims. The killers should simply be locked away and forgotten, but the victims and their families are the ones in need. That’s all to often forgotten.


  2. Heidi Mason

    September 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    When I saw the title of this, my mind flicked over what kind of smiles would NOT be the good kind, and I finally decided to read it when my mind landed on the Joker. Now that I’ve read it, my mind is still on the Joker… as though someone has invented the Joker’s smiling toxin, called Smilex in the 1989 movie of Batman, that causes people to smile/laugh themselves to death.


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      October 1, 2012 at 8:12 am

      That’s funny. I don’t think drug makes you smile though.


  3. Frank Karl

    October 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

    As a chemist I’m not surprised by analog derivatives of drugs. Organic chemists have, since the beginning of organic chemistry, tried to synthesize various families of compounds. We have many of our cancer and antibiotic drug through this route.

    It amazed me, based on my sketchy background in biochemistry, that anyone would put something of unknown purity and composition that someone ‘cooked’ in a half-fast lab in their body.

    I think everyone who dies from these concoctions should have “What could they have been possibly thinking?” carved on their tombstone.


  4. Brenda

    October 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for this information. I had not read the article, just saw the headline that the actor died. I didn’t realize he was responsible for attacking one person and murdering another. How awful. (IMHO, if he chose to take the drug that has this reaction, he chose to commit crimes.)

    On another topic, does anyone keep any percentages on the numbers of crimes that are happening because the perpetrators are off their legal meds? (I realize they’d miss some, just wondered if there was an effort to collect that.)


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      October 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      I don’t know if anyone is collecting that info or not but there are many cases of violent acts during med withdrawal. Beginning a new psychotropic med and weaning off one create a transition period where things can get rocky and then some.


  5. Brenda

    October 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks, D.P.


  6. MB

    November 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    He also killed Catharine’s cat…. dismembering the poor creature with his bare hands. Between this series of acts commited by Lewis, the Face-Eating- Zombie episode in Miamin and the man in Texas who attacked his family and then bit chunks of meat off of his familys’ dog (the dog had to be euthanised due to the severity of injuries)….. I don’t know what’s going on anymore. Drugs? Psychotics whose mental states are kicked into overdrive by drugs? Or just plain giving in to the most evil of instincts. I do not know but sincerely hope answers will be found before there are more victims of these most heinous of acts.


  7. cj swanson

    January 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    i recently read that the SSRI psychiatric drugs interfere with dopamine. delusions and hallucinations arent usually thought about but could these also be from the altered dopamine


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      January 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Yes as well as elevated effective serotonin levels as the SSRIs were designed to do. Both can alter mood as well as cause other psychiatric changes. The effects of both serotonin and dopamine can be unpredictable on an individual basis.



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