With all of the slang names, scientific terms, and regular terms for the myriad of drugs available to the population on the black market, mephedrone is a name that often lacks popularity in the world of heroin, cocaine and marijuana abuse. So what is mephedrone and what does it do? Is it dangerous?
Mephedrone belongs to the cathinone family, a group of drugs that are closely related to amphetamines, including meth, ecstasy and speed. It is a powerful stimulant, and although not much is known about the long term effects from abuse, Mephedrone often produces immediate effects of euphoria, alertness and feelings of affection for the people around. On the downside, mephedrone, also known as ‘meow,’ can produce sensations of paranoia, anxiety and can over-stimulate the heart, blood circulation, and the nervous system of the body.
Mephedrone can be found as a powdery white, off-white or yellowish substance, closely resembling cocaine. Because of the similarity in appearance between mephedrone, cocaine, meth, and heroin, it can be hard to tell if mephedrone is exactly what it really is; in other words, it can sometimes be mistaken for another drug. Even more difficult to be sure of, is the chemical composition of the drug. Purities and composition can vary with each batch, each dealer, and each purchase. This increases health risks of taking the drug, since harsh side effects could prove fatal depending on the chemical combinations.
Up until very recently, mephedrone was considered a legal alternative to cocaine, meth and heroin. The stimulant properties have been found to produce rushes similar to those of heroin and meth; it also produces the “alert stimulation,” popular with cocaine use. Sold as plant food or ‘bath salts’ online, the only way sellers were able to legally distribute the drug was to name it under the pretense of not being used for human consumption, which was printed on the label. Although the label informed users that the substance was not made for human consumption, this was how the drug was once sold easily. Recently, the US government began to prohibit the production, as well as distribution and sale of mephedrone under these pretenses.
As listed above, long term effects of mephedrone are still unclear, however it has been found that the drug holds a very high potential for addiction. It mimics addiction forming habits that are seen in meth and cocaine abuse, in which users enjoy the euphoric feelings and continue repeated abuse, which can span over weeks, until at some point they realize that the abuse has turned into dependence.
Mephedrone also builds tolerance as fast as other drugs like cocaine and heroin. Users find that after just a few uses, the amount of drug consumed must be upped again and again to produce similar results from earlier trips. This only fuels the developing addiction, making it easier to become severely dependent and harder to stop as the body craves higher and higher dosages.
Methods for ingesting mephedrone do vary. It can be snorted like cocaine, popped in pill form, or smoked. Rarely injected, mephedrone users also take part in consumption which is dubbed as ‘bombing’. In order to ingest mephedrone in this manner, an amount of the drug is wrapped in a small piece of paper and then swallowed to be absorbed through the stomach into the blood stream. Each method of ingestion produces similar effects; as a result, the intensity and speed for which side effects begin vary slightly.
When seeking treatment for mephedrone addiction, it is recommended that users seek a medically monitored detoxification setting, or an inpatient setting where doctors can oversee the process and secure safe health throughout. Because not much is known about mephedrone addiction yet, it is unclear whether a sudden halt in drug use can cause severe health complications (like heroin addiction does). This is why it is better safe than sorry when choosing detoxification specifications. Detoxing alone is a serious matter that can lead to death without medical supervision.
Along with a detoxification plan, it is important for recovering mephedrone addicts to also seek a rehab program which includes some form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, whether it is individual, group or family, or a 12 Step program. This is vital, as therapy can help individuals cope with distracting side-effects such as anxiety, depression and cravings. It is important for recovering addicts to sort out any problems which may have stemmed from mephedrone addiction. Understanding the driving factor behind the addiction, and learning coping tools and techniques for cravings and avoiding future drug use can make a huge difference in the success of achieving sobriety and getting life back on a normal track.
When dealing with mephedrone, it is important to keep in mind that the drug is now illegal, and can result in jail time, hefty fines, and other serious consequences just from carrying the drug; you can also be persecuted for ingesting or selling it as well. Also, it is important to understand that although research is still being done to fully understand the short term, as well as the lasting effects of mephedrone abuse, this does not mean that physical and psychological health are exempt from deterioration.