M-Cat, Meow Meow, M-Smack, White Magic, Bubble, Bounce; call it what you will, powerful stimulant, mephedrone, swiftly became the legal high of choice among British clubbers looking for an alternative to illicit drugs. It’s now five years since it was reclassified a Class B drug. In this blog, Port of Call gives you all you need to know about mephedrone.
What is mephedrone?
Mephedrone has been described as a mix between ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines. It can make users feel alert, confident and euphoric but it can also lead to sickness, paranoia and anxiety. Worse still, some people experience vomiting and headaches and, in extreme cases, overstimulation of the heart, circulation and nervous system.
The growing trend of injecting mephedrone is especially dangerous, according to FRANK. It’s much easier to overdose when injecting and research suggests that on average mephedrone is only 50% pure, so there is no way of knowing what other substances are entering the bloodstream. Deaths involving mephedrone tripled from six deaths in 2011 to 18 in 2012.
The law on mephedrone
Many Legal highs, or New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), are not yet controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the true extent of their effects are unknown. They cannot be sold for human consumption, so are often sold as plant food, incense, or bath salts to get round the law.
So-called ‘designer drug’ mephedrone was one such legal high until April 2010 when it was reclassified as a Class B drug. Possession is illegal and can get you up to five years in jail and/or an unlimited fine. Whilst supplying someone else, even a friend, can lead to fourteen years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
Mephedrone in the news
Earlier this year, a student reportedly dismembered himself with a knife while apparently high on mephedrone. The Mirror also reported that the drug has been linked to several attacks involving extreme violence and cannibalism around the world – including, they assert, in the case of Welshman, Matthew Williams.
Former Crime Prevention Minister, Norman Baker, used the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna to urge other countries to ban mephedrone. Forty countries are said to have controlled the synthetic stimulant and the UK alone saw a two-thirds drop in reported use in 2012 compared with 2010/11.
Norman Baker said on GOV.UK: “I am very concerned with the harm being caused to young people by these substances. Our Forensic Early Warning System allows us to closely monitor their availability so we can disrupt their supply and mephedrone is one of more than 250 substances that we have banned.
“I would urge all countries to take action against this dangerous drug so together we can protect people and ultimately save lives.”
Contact Port of Call for more information about mephedrone, other ‘legal highs’, and how addiction to drugs can be treated through our network of addiction experts. You can speak to Port of Call for free, about how to find a drug or alcohol rehab in your area, or just for some advice on how to beat your addiction, on 08000029010.