Mephedrone also known as Meow Meow, MCAT & Drone is perhaps the best well known of the recent designer drugs and became widely available for a period between 2004 and 2010. It is now illegal in Europe and the US.
Similar to Cathinone in its structure it has been referred to as the poor mans cocaine. No current drug testing kit for Mephedrone exists to reliably detect either the base compound or its metabolites in either urine saliva or blood.
Claims have been made that Methamphetamine drug tests will detect Mephedrone. There is no chemical similarity between the 2 drugs and Methamphetamine drug tests should always give a negative result if tested on Methedrone. Neither is there any evidence that Methedrone has been mixed in Methamphetamine, so the claim that methamphatamine drug test kits can been used to screen for Mephadrone use are without any factual base.
Since being regulated substitution with similar compounds has occurred, again none of these are similar chemically to Methamphetamine. All remain covered by current UK and EU legislation, but the mephedrone remains available via illegal routes and remains popular.
Statistics released earlier this week showed a rapid increase in deaths in UK from so called ‘legal highs’ betweeen 2009 and 2010 .
Most of these drugs have since been banned and are now illegal and classed as Class B drugs.
One of these drugs is Mephedrone , also known as mcat or meow meow which was responsible for 29 of the 43 deaths that occured after people had taken the now banned group of drugs known as methcathinones.
Twenty four new psychoactive drugs were reported to the official European monitoring centre during 2009, the largest number ever reported in a single year.
All the new drugs were synthetic compounds, and included 9 cannabinoid (cannabis) like substances.
The growth in synthesised drugs, side-stepping current legal restrictions to enable fast market and internet sales of “legal highs” seems to have been the growth trend of 2009 with a reduction in MDMA in tablets sold as E’s and substitution with Piperazine mCPP like substances.
As the UK moves to legislate to cover these developments, the market will move to traditional criminal production and supply chains associated with established drug groups.
There is still no test available for any of these new drugs, making screening and detection difficult.
Under increasing pressure from the media, the UK government has introduced an amnesty for all mephedrone suppliers of existing stock and made the drug a class B substance.
The legislation attempts to cover all possible chemical variations and compound structures, which could have allowed a legal way round the ban. Mephedrone is now an illegal substance to possess, supply or import in the UK. Standard class B legal penalties apply upon charges brought by the police.
How Mephedrone will be treated and classified by Europe and the rest of the world remains unclear. It remains a legal chemical in many countries.
There is still no instant drug test for mephedrone available, making its use, problematic to detect or monitor.
Yesterday the home secretary Alan Johnson announced to the UK press that the legal high drug Mephedrone also known as MCAT and meow meow, that has now be linked to 25 deaths in the UK, would be banned within weeks.
The ban which is expected to have widespread cross party support is to be rushed through the houses of commons & lords
After the sad news in the UK press this weekend that the death of two teenagers in Scunthorpe may be linked to Mephedrone use, the government is coming under increasing pressure to ban the drug, currently sold legally as ‘plant food’
Click on links below to read recent coverage in UK press
Mephedrone had been encountered by up to 19% (almost 1/5) of regular users of Cocaine and ecstacy, in a recent study questionare on drug use in the preceeding 6 months.
This level was lower than expected, with the media hype over ‘legal highs’, however the study was in drug users already in contact with a drug worker. It is suggested the group consists of experienced drug users with existing patterns and preferences in drug taking. The conclusion is the mephedrone is not seen as an alternative to illegal drug use by experienced users.