Mephedrone (sometimes called ‘meow meow’) is a powerful stimulant and is part of a group of drugs that are closely related to the amphetamines, like speed and ecstasy. There isn't much evidence about mephedrone and its long term effects as it's quite a new drug but because it is similar to speed and ecstasy the long term effects may well be similar. There have reports of people hospitalised due to the short-term effects.
Also, you can never be entirely sure that what you’re buying is actually mephedrone and not something else.
The main effects and risks of mephedrone include:
There have been reports that more people are injecting mephedrone. Injecting any drug, or sharing injecting equipment, runs the risk of the person injecting catching or spreading a virus such hepatitis C or HIV. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that an abscess or a blood clot will develop, leading to further damage, such as gangrene.
Mephedrone can be found as a fine white, off-white or a yellowish powder. It was originally sold over the internet as a ‘legal’ alternative to drugs like speed, ecstasy and cocaine. But to get around the law, dealers said that the mephedrone they were selling was plant food or a bath salt and not for human consumption.
Mephedrone is usually snorted like cocaine or is wrapped in paper and swallowed (‘bombed’ is a slang name used for this). It can also be found as capsules and pills and can be smoked. Much less often, mephedrone is injected.
Injecting mephedrone, and sharing injecting equipment including needles and syringes, runs the risk of the person injecting catching or spreading a virus, such as HIV or hepatitis C.
There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that something nasty will develop, such as an abscess or a clot.
Mephedrone is often described as a mix between amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine. The effects of mephedrone last for about an hour, but this can vary.
Other effects that people have reported include heart palpitations, insomnia, loss of short-term memory, vertigo (a form of dizziness), grinding of teeth, sweating and uncomfortable changes in body temperature.
Taking mephedrone does involve risks – and the dangers and long-term effects are becoming clearer as more reports emerge. Here’s what we know:
You increase the risks to yourself if you combine alcohol with mephedrone or any other drug that causes a ‘high’ – including increasing the risk of death.
Research suggests that on average mephedrone is 50% pure, being mixed or cut with other substances, such as caffeine, monosodium glutamate (normally used as a flavour enhancer) and benzocaine (a local anaesthetic which can produce a ‘numbing’ effect). In some cases, the powder people buy from a dealer contains no mephedrone at all!
The simple answer is – yes – you can get addicted to mephedrone. Reports say that mephedrone use can lead to a strong psychological dependence on the drug, and can lead to the user craving – and taking – increasing amounts.
This kind of behaviour increases all of the above risks to your health. Some users say that once they have started a mephedrone session, they find it very difficult to stop until they’ve used their entire supply - this is sometimes called ‘fiending’.
If the Police catch you with mephedrone, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution. A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.