Mephedrone is the Newest Club Drug Known as “Meow-Meow”
There seems to be no end to a class of narcotics known as “designer drugs.” These are substances created to mimic the “high” of an existing drug using chemicals not yet classified as illegal. Sellers are able to peddle these unsafe chemicals legally, until authorities outlaw the compounds, and standard drug tests haven’t been designed to register the drug in screenings.
Though Mephedrone, aka “meow-meow,” “M-cat” or “chemsex,” has been illegal in the U.S. since 2011, some experts worry that use of this dangerous drug is on the rise.
The first synthesis of this drug is believed to have been in 1929 by a French chemist, and rediscovered by an underground chemist in 2003. Users report that the drug’s effect is similar to that of MDMA and cocaine. It can be snorted, ingested and injected. It is cheap to make, and U.S. officials have labeled mephedrone as “bath salts,” a synthetic class of drugs with stimulant and mood altering properties.
Users report the “desired” effect is euphoria along with physical and mental stimulation within 15 to 45 minutes after ingesting or snorting, and usually lasts between two and three hours. But many have reported nightmarish side effects, that last quite longer.
Known Negative Side Effects of Meow Meow include:
- Heart palpitations
- Excessive sweating
- Cold or blue fingers
- Nausea and headaches
- Severe panic attacks
- Hallucinations and paranoia
Meow Meow received a lot of news attention in 2013 after a student in the UK stabbed his mother and severed his own penis after taking the drug.
Prior to its Schedule 1 classification in the United States, authorities at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) noted that the mephedrone had been widely available for sale on the Internet, at head shops or smokes shops, convenience stores and gas stations. There is likely still quite a bit of mephedrone in circulation regardless of its legal status.
The drug, which comes as a white or yellowish powder or in pill form, can be cut with any number of other hazardous substances, which users are unaware of. This should be a cause for concern, but at least one survey, conducted by the Global Drug Survey, an independent research organization that advocates harm reduction policies, found that out of 80,000 respondents, 5 percent admitted to simply buying a mysterious white powder of unknown contents.
Because mephedrone use is relatively new, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of regular use. This lack of information can be problematic for healthcare workers and first responders in case of an “M-Cat” overdose. Unlike other recreational drugs that were developed first as medicine, such as amphetamines, this drug has been created in underground labs and backstreet sweatshops with little to no regard for purity or the safety of the end user.
There is a debate about whether or not meow meow is addictive due to the fact that it’s new on the drug scene. However, with a “high” that mimics cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy, there is no doubt about the potential for abuse. Because mephedrone isn’t as potent as other drugs in the same class, users tend to re-redose as the effects wear off and develop a tolerance, which requires a larger amount to achieve the same mind-altering results.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), reports that “designer” or “club” drugs are most often used by teenagers and young adults at clubs, bars, concerts, music festivals and parties. Parents should discuss with their children the dangerous side effects and outcomes that these so-called “legal drugs” can have.
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