Mephedrone is a relatively new drug as compared to others like LSD and heroin, and one that is very popular on the club scene. Research indicates that the synthetic substance was first synthesised somewhere around 2007 or 2008 as one of the earliest ‘legal highs’ to be sold in Europe and North America as plant food. By 2010, use of the drug among young people was close to reaching epidemic portions.
The relative newness of mephedrone makes it difficult for scientists to say for sure that it is physically addictive. There are plenty of stories along with anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is, but even if not, the fact that mephedrone is a psychoactive substance means that it is psychologically addictive. Along those lines, the biggest problem with this drug is that psychological addiction occurs rapidly due to the effects of the drug only lasting about an hour. Re-dosing is common, leading to psychological addiction in as little as a few days.
If you are using this drug, you need to be aware that some of its effects on the body can present a serious danger to your health very quickly. We urge you to contact us for help right away. The same is true if you suspect a family member or friend is using mephedrone. The sooner mephedrone use stops, the sooner the user will be out of danger.
Basics of Mephedrone
Mephedrone is a synthetic drug known on the street as meow meow, MCAT, 4-MMC, bubbles, drone and miaow. It was classified as a Class B drug in the UK in 2010 after being sold legally for a number of years as plant food. It is an amphetamine in the cathinone class that acts as a powerful stimulant on the central nervous system with psychoactive properties that make it a popular party drug.
Unfortunately, mephedrone is increasingly becoming one of the drugs of choice for clubbers. Those who use it know that its effects are similar to what would be experienced by mixing amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy. The drug quickly induces feelings of euphoria while also increasing alertness, energy, and confidence. While high on the drug, users are known to talk incessantly.
One of the biggest dangers posed by this drug is the relatively short duration of its effects. An average high will last only about 60 minutes or so; users will have to re-dose multiple times over the course of a night of clubbing if they want to remain high throughout. This cycle of dosing and re-dosing is what makes it so easy to become psychologically dependent on mephedrone so quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of Mephedrone Abuse
Because medical science has still not answered the question of physical dependence on mephedrone, it is more appropriate to talk about the signs and symptoms of abuse rather than dependence. However, bear in mind that any psychoactive substance has the potential to cause psychological addiction.
Psychological addiction is the result of tolerance to the drug, requiring users to increase the amount they take in order to still feel good. A person who is psychologically dependent will feel the compulsion to use the drug with greater frequency.
As for the signs and symptoms of mephedrone abuse, these are as follows:
- Users present a strong odour of cat urine
- Extreme energy levels, incessant talkativeness
- Sleeping problems and eventual insomnia
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Regular headaches and heart palpitations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blue colour and cold sensation in the fingers
- Rapid and unexplained weight loss
- Abnormal agitation and fits
- Gradually more serious panic attacks
- Hallucinations – can be severe
- Gradually increasing paranoia.
A parent who notices sudden and extreme weight loss in a child along with the regular occurrence of an unexplained odour of cat urine should immediately attempt to ascertain whether the child is using mephedrone. The rapid weight loss related to this drug is one of the most obvious and immediately dangerous signs of abuse.
Long-term mephedrone use has not been studied extensively enough for scientists to determine all of the potential damage this drug can do. But as an amphetamine, the medical community is reasonably sure mephedrone is harmful if taken in large enough doses over a long enough period of time. There is already anecdotal evidence that some people have died as a result of using mephedrone.
Re-dosing multiple times in a single night can increase both heart rate and blood pressure to the point of producing cardiac arrest. There is also the risk of users engaging in risky behaviour that could result in a serious injury or death. The fact that little is known about the long-term effects of mephedrone is not sufficient reason to believe the drug is harmless. It is not.
Treatment for Mephedrone Addiction
Our lack of scientific knowledge regarding the long-term use of mephedrone also means there is no real standard for treating addiction to this drug other than to follow a protocol similar to that which is used for other psychoactive substances. In cases where a user shows signs of physical dependence, medically supervised detox in a controlled setting is the place to start. Private rehab clinics are usually the best option for detox.
Rehabilitative care is recommended following detox in order to address psychological dependence and any other emotional or mental issues that may result from using the drug. Patients are treated with a combination of counselling, group support, and sessions of learning and developing strategies to avoid future relapse.
Addiction Helper has seen first-hand how damaging mephedrone use can be. We urge you not to ignore the possibility that you or a family member may have a problem with this drug. If you are willing to contact us via our 24-hour helpline, we will walk you through the signs and symptoms of mephedrone abuse to help you figure out if you have a problem. If you do, we can also help you find appropriate treatment in your local area.