Lately, we keep on hearing about designer drugs like synthetic marijuana, bath salts, and Smiles. They have been widely abused by teenagers because they are cheap and easily accessible. But just because they are popular these days doesn’t mean other designer drugs are taking the backseat. For example, Mephedrone maintains its share of users despite being classified as a Schedule I substance.
Mephedrone or 4-Methylmethcathinone is a designer drug that produces central nervous system stimulation, psychoactivity and hallucinations. Bath salts, in particular, often use this chemical as main ingredient along with mthylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone.
The drug comes in various street names, including Meph, 4-MMC, MCAT, Drone, Meow Meow, Bounce, Bubbles, and Mad Cow. It can be taken orally, while others use it intravenously. They are usually produced in illegal labs and often sold through online pharmacies and other retail smoke shops. From 2009 to 2011, law enforcement agencies have documented mephedrone seizures throughout the United States.
Like other drugs of abuse, mephedrone can be addictive and even deadly. Some of the adverse effects reported by mephedrone abusers include increased heart rate, chest pain, agitation, irritability, dizziness, delusions, nose bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
Earlier, a study revealed compelling evidence that mephedrone has potential for abuse and addiction. The study was published online on June 2012 by the journal Behavioural Brain Research.
“The effects of mephedrone on the brain’s reward circuits are comparable to similar doses of cocaine,” C.J. Malanga, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology, pediatrics and psychology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said in a News-medical.net feature. “As expected our research shows that mephedrone likely has significant abuse liability.”
The findings support the study conducted by a team of researchers from Australia which offered evidence of mephedrone’s ability to damage memory.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), mephedrone is popular with youths in urban environments. However, available information also suggest that the drug is used not only by teenagers, but also by mid-to-late adolescents and older adults.