Mephedrone used to be a way of getting an MDMA-type hit without getting in trouble with Mr Policeman. But its new-found illegal status hasn't damaged its popularity. Here's what you need to know.
Mephedrone is a synthetic stimulant with similar effects to MDMA and speed. It is the most well-known out of a group of drugs based on the alkaloid cathinone, which is found in the khat plant. Its typically hard-to-pronounce chemical name is 4-methylmethcathinone, or MMCAT, hence its nickname "meow meow".
Until April 2010, it was considered a legal high, and sold under the guise of plant food in head shops and legal high outlets. But mephedrone was made illegal after it became the subject of a media frenzy and linked to several deaths.
It is usually sold as a fine off-white powder which is snorted like cocaine, or swallowed wrapped up in paper. It can also be smoked, injected or taken in capsules and pills.
What are the effects of mephedrone?
Mephedrone is a strong chemical and its effects vary dramatically from person to person, but common effects include:
· Feelings of intense euphoria and empathy, with a strong desire to talk to others
· Rushing feelings throughout the body, with facial flushing, goosebumps, sweating, and increased energy levels
· Impaired short-term memory, insomnia, and heart palpitations
· A strong desire to re-dose to recapture the initial euphoric rush
· Gurnage. Users experience tightening jaw muscles and involuntary twitching
· Effects usually last for an hour
What are the risks of taking mephedrone?
- It can be potentially fatal. Meow meow has been highlighted as a possible contributor to several deaths in the UK
- The desire to re-dose can exasperate the negative effects of the drug, including: insomnia, vertigo, overheating, and heart palpitations
- It can over-stimulate the heart and mess with your blood circulation, causing your fingers to turn an unsightly shade of blue
- Your nervous system can be over-stimulated, which can lead to fits, agitation, hallucinations, as well as anxious and paranoid thoughts
- Snorting the drug can cause heavy nosebleeds
Mephedrone and the law:
In April 2010, mephedrone was made illegal and classified as a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. This means possession alone can earn you up to five years in prison, a fine, or both. And if you are caught dealing mephedrone, you're looking at 14 years prison as well as a potential fine.
Mephedrone is also known as:
MCAT, MC, meph, miaow, meow meow, bubbles, white magic, charge, drone, bounce, 4-MMC.
Other terms associated with mephedrone:
Bombing: when users swallow a dose of mephedrone wrapped in paper.
If you are planning on taking mephedrone:
- It is potentially dangerous to mix stimulants with alcohol
- Do not take mephedrone if you are taking antidepressants containing MAOIs
Avoid taking it if you have seizure or convulsive disorder, or a history of heart problems
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