Synthetic stimulants, otherwise known as bath salts, are drugs (specifically cathinones) that produce the same effects as cocaine, methamphetamines, and hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and MDMA (ecstasy). These drugs aren’t to be confused with Epsom salts, which are used for bathing. Synthetic stimulants are marketed as “bath salts” and sold in plain packages with labels like “jewelry cleaner” to avoid legal detection. Mephedrone, the Meow Meow drug, belongs to this drug class. Although the name may sound a bit funny, its side effects are anything but amusing. The drug experts at our Massachusetts rehab share more about the dangers of mephedrone below.
What Is Mephedrone?
Also known as 4-methyl methcathinone, 4-MMC, and 4-methylephedrine, mephedrone is a synthetic stimulant drug that’s chemically similar to the cathinone found in the khat plant of eastern Africa. Some common slang names for mephedrone include M-CAT, M-Smack, White Magic, and Meow Meow drug.
Meow Meow belongs to a class of drugs called New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), which include substances that were designed to mimic the effects of other illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Although mephedrone is often compared to MDMA or Molly, its side effects are significantly more harmful.
Mephedrone works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS) to increase dopamine and norepinephrine. As a result, mephedrone high may make users feel euphoric and energetic while increasing physiological functions.
What Is Mephedrone Made Of?
The ingredients of mephedrone aren’t clear. Usually, synthetic cathinones come in the form of white or brown crystal-like powders that are sold in small plastic pouches or foil packages. Similarly, mephedrone is usually sold as a white powder or in tablets or capsules.
Meow Meow users may swallow, snort, or inject this drug, with snorting being the most common form of administration. The main ingredient in mephedrone is cathinone. NPS and drugs like Meow Meow usually contain unregulated chemicals to avoid legal detection.
Usually, when these drugs are detected by law enforcement, distributors change the ingredients to make a new drug. These substances are often referred to as “legal highs” because the changes in chemical formulation technically mean they’re no longer illegal.
Where Is Mephedrone Still Legal?
Mephedrone was made illegal in many European countries in 2010, and the EU ruled it illegal in December 2010, as well. Australia, New Zealand, and the United States consider mephedrone an analog of other illegal drugs and can be controlled by laws similar to the US Federal Analog Act.
Why Is Mephedrone Banned?
Mephedrone was legal to buy during its peak of popularity. However, dealers sold the drug under the pretense of being other products by taking advantage of internet loopholes. Bath salts and synthetic cannabis were among the designer drugs that made this trend popular. Soon after becoming aware of the movement, lawmakers and law enforcement officers worldwide outlawed mephedrone permanently.
Mephedrone Effects on the Brain & Body
The key to mephedrone’s effects on the brain is cathinone, which is a naturally occurring stimulant that’s found in the khat plant. It’s chemically similar to ephedrine (adrenaline) and amphetamines like speed, ecstasy, and cocaine, all of which act as CNS stimulants. While the exact physiological and long-term effects may vary from person to person, here are some common side effects of mephedrone on the body:
- Increased alertness
- Increased energy
- Increased confidence
- Sensitivity to touch and sexual arousal
- Increased sociability and empathy
- Increased body temperature
- Elevated heart rate (heart palpitations)
- Teeth grinding
People often take mephedrone and other similar drugs like MDMA while clubbing, partying, or attending music festivals. However, a common danger of mephedrone use is dehydration. Not only do people who are high on this drug neglect to drink water, but they may also mix it with alcohol, which also causes dehydration.
The effects of mephedrone kick in almost immediately after it’s taken and may last for 30 minutes, followed by a rapid comedown. Mephedrone effects duration depends on how the drug is used. When a person snorts mephedrone, the effects may last for 30 minutes. When they take it orally, the effects may last between two to three hours. The duration of side effects depends on whether the person has eaten, the form of administration, and the dose taken.
Mephedrone long-term effects, like paranoia, depression, hallucinations, and severe panic attacks, as well as severe effects on the heart, arteries, and kidneys, have also been reported by users. Additionally, a condition called mephedrone psychosis has also been reported as a result of chronic use, which produces symptoms like delusive thoughts, hallucinations, and disorganized speech. Furthermore, mephedrone is addictive, and a person who uses this drug for a long period may need the help of an inpatient drug rehab to quit and recover their health.
Signs of Mephedrone Addiction
Mephedrone, like other substances with addictive potential, can lead to dependence and addiction in some individuals. Recognizing mephedrone abuse symptoms is crucial for early intervention and seeking appropriate help. Here are common signs of mephedrone addiction:
- Increased tolerance: As a person’s tolerance grows, they might eventually require higher doses of mephedrone to get the desired effects.
- Compulsive drug seeking: Seeking, abusing, and recovering from mephedrone’s effects can take a lot of time and effort for an addict.
- Loss of control: Addicts may find it challenging to cut back or restrict their mephedrone use, even when doing so has negative effects on their social, professional, or personal relationships.
- Cravings: Mephedrone cravings can get really strong, making it difficult to stop using the drug even when you’re trying.
- Neglect of responsibilities: Addiction can cause one to neglect obligations at home, at work, or in school. Drug use taking precedence over daily responsibilities is a common indicator.
- Social isolation: Mephedrone addicts may distance themselves from relationships, social obligations, and activities because they value the drug’s intoxicating effects more than interacting with others.
- Continued use despite consequences: Even after suffering from adverse effects like relationship problems or health issues, people who are addicted to mephedrone might still use the drug.
- Physical and psychological changes: Mephedrone use over an extended period of time can cause psychological and physical side effects, including mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, and weight loss.
- Financial issues: Addiction can cause financial hardship because people who use mephedrone spend a lot of money on it.
- Unsuccessful attempts to quit: People may repeatedly try to cut back or stop using mephedrone, but they often struggle to stay clean.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability, depression, or intense drug cravings, when attempting to stop using mephedrone.
Since addiction is a complicated and multifaceted disease, each person’s symptoms may vary. It’s critical to get professional assistance from therapists, addiction specialists, or medical professionals if you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of mephedrone addiction. Treatment options, including counseling, support groups, and medical interventions, are available at Clearbrook’s drug rehab in Massachusetts to help individuals overcome substance use disorders and regain control over their lives.
Mephedrone Addiction Treatment
Our rehab in Massachusetts offers a variety of addiction treatment services to help as many people overcome drug and alcohol abuse as we can. Not only do we focus on patients’ recovery while they’re at our facility, but we also provide them with aftercare support through our alumni program to help them stay on track.