Friday, June 21st, 2024

Mephedrone Use

Mephedrone Use

Mephedrone is a synthetic stimulant, and is known as a “designer drug” or a “legal high.” It is part of a class of chemicals that are legally sold in the United States and elsewhere as long as they are not sold “for human consumption.” In the U.S., it generally sold under the guise of bath additives aka “bath salts” or, alternatively, “plant food.”

Mephedrone is a drug that is of the amphetamine and cathione classes. Its effects are similar to cocaine, amphetamine, and ecstasy. The effects come on in a head rush and it can make you feel nauseous. Generally, the effects of one dose last about 2-3 hours. Common side effects include a racing heart, paranoia, and intense hallucinations. Teeth grinding is also very common.

Mephedrone comes in the form of tablets or powder which can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected.

Mephedrone Use: Effects

One of the dangers of mephedrone use is that there have been very few studies on its effects, especially its long term effects.

Users report that short term effects of mephedrone use include:

  • Euphoria
  • Stimulation
  • Elevated mood
  • Mild sexual stimulation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Visual problems
  • Teeth grinding
  • Poor concentration
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Erratic behavior
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased sweating
  • Paranoia
  • Headaches

In a small study of 40 young adults, regular users of mephedrone had increased rates of psychosis, depression, and cognitive impairment compared with their non-using peers. Mephedrone is also associated with increased craving and “binge-style” usage. In extreme cases, users are injecting or snorting the powder up to 20 to 40 times a day.

Almost nothing is known about the long-term effects of the drug due to the short history of mephedrone use.  The lethal dose is unknown, and there is no information regarding the potential neurotoxicity of mephedrone use. However, based on the studies that have been performed on similar substances, scientists say that it is highly likely that mephedrone use has neurotoxic effects. There have been many reported deaths attributed to mephedrone, but since the cases usually involved other substances as well, it is difficult to determine the lethal dosage limits of mephedrone use.

Mephedrone Use: Legality

Although many countries, the UK in particular, have tried to create laws to ban mephedrone use in response to its growing popularity, the drug is still easily obtained online and through street dealers. Mephedrone is mostly manufactured in India and China.

In the United States, mephedrone is a scheduled drug as of 2011, but this still doesn’t prevent manufacturers from selling it in products that are labeled “not for human consumption.”

Some users believe that since mephedrone is “legal” or can be bought in stores, it is not as dangerous as traditional street drugs. In addition, the drug tends to be less expensive than ecstasy and cocaine. Mephedrone is also more accessible to those living outside of major city centers and it has none of the “junkie” stigma that is associated with drugs like crack and heroin. These factors have caused and increase in the number of people who engage in mephedrone use and other “legal highs.”