What is mephedrone?
Mephedrone is sold as a white powder which is usually snorted in a similar way to cocaine.
It is also found in capsules and pills or can be dissolved in a liquid. In very rare cases it can be injected.
What else is it known as?
As a relatively new drug, mephedrone has a whole host of street names including meph, 4-MMC, MCAT, Drone, Meow and Bubbles.
The chemical might also appear as an ingredient in other legal pills and powders, possibly without the actual name appearing on the packaging.
What are the intended effects of taking it?
Mephedrone is often described as a mix between ecstasy and cocaine. Users say they feel more alert, confident and talkative.
Like cocaine, the affects appear to last around an hour before wearing off.
And the side effects?
A recent survey for the dance magazine Mixmag found that 67% of mephedrone users reported excess sweating; 51% headaches; 43% heart palpitations; 27% nausea; and 15% cold or blue fingers.
Most of those side effects are common with other stimulants like ecstasy and cocaine.
Other anecdotal reports suggest heavy use can lead to paranoia, hallucinations and serious panic attacks.
Similar psychotic effects have been reported with heavy amphetamine use.
How safe is it? Any long term dangers?
The official line is we just do not know.
Many other illegal drugs, including amphetamines and ecstasy, were first developed as medicines. It means scientists have conducted tests and have some idea of the harm they can cause.
Mephedrone does not have that scientific background and was developed in backstreet laboratories with no human testing so the long term effects are unknown.
How is it sold?
There are reports that mephedrone is starting to be sold by some street drug dealers alongside illegal substances like cocaine and ecstasy.
- Mephedrone is a Class B drug – so it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
- Possession is illegal and can get you up to five years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
- Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you fourteen years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.