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Did Your Teen Try Mephedrone At The Last Party?

May 6th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Spare a thought for the parents of Cassi Vaicekonis who were forced to bury their daughter shortly after her 20th birthday. As the media details the drug-infused horror of her final night, the inquest into her death revealed she was taking ecstasy tablets at the age of 16. She was in rehab by 19.

Cassi Vaicekonis. Source: The Daily Telegraph

We have read enough about cocaine, marijuana, heroin and ecstasy to believe we’d be able to detect if our teenager was using. If you are reading this blog then you can consider yourself a conscious parent. The trouble is, we never know what we’re supposed to be looking for next until another child dies.

And that’s why the fear of God went through me when I heard about mephedrone, also known as Meow-Meow. It’s a synthetic stimulant of the amphetamine and cathinone classes. Mephedrone comes in the form of tablets, capsules or white powder that can be swallowed, snorted or injected.

Mephedrone in capsule form. Source

Mephedrone in powder form. Source

Excessive cathinone usage can cause loss of appetite, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, hallucinations and panic attacks. Chronic abusers are at risk of developing personality disorders and of sustaining myocardial infarction. (Source: Wikipedia)

Mephedrone appeared from nowhere, but by the end of 2009 this new party drug was the fourth most-used drug in the UK. According to the BBC a British support group for drug users has reported a 300% increase in the number of referrals for use of mephedrone in the past year.

I found a post on the Wales Home website that provides a young woman’s chilling account of how dangerous this drug can be. I have repeated it in full below as the result of the website’s acknowledgement that as any people as possible should read this.

I would not consider myself the average drug-taker, easily-led and gullible at times, but in no way the type of user most people would associate with Meow-Meow or Mephedrone. Having said that, let’s consider the type of people who take this drug. Half the price of cocaine (which can sometimes be of an unsatisfactory standard and therefore a waste of £40-£50) and marketed as a ‘legal high’, the drug sells itself. People who would otherwise say no to drugs are intrigued by the ‘positive’ effects this drug has on their friends and give in to trying some. These people include those with jobs and those without, teenagers, students and alarmingly children as young as eight. Indeed I have taken the drug with adults 10 to 15 years older than me and I am ashamed to say, but also with teenagers six to seven years younger, some studying at university and others hoping to go – little do they know that this M-Kat, Magic Dust or Bubbles (other street names) could change all that in a split second.

What makes this drug so popular other than the price? The effects of Mephedrone can be described as being in between Ecstasy and Cocaine. It makes you more confident, more funny, more talkative, more sexually aroused and, above all, makes partying in clubs fantastic as all types of music are now appealing. Other effects are feeling like a cat (e.g. liking being stroked or stroking things of a certain fabric, hence the name, I would guess), being unable to eat, rapid-eye-movement (often associated with Ecstasy or MDMA), needing to urinate more often (leading to dehydration, but you do not think this at the time), vomiting, nosebleeds, significantly increased heart rates, paranoia, hearing voices or schizophrenia, headaches and sensitivity to light. However, the drug still appeals to people as these effects tend to wear off sooner than the effects of Ecstasy, Speed or MDMA and you can still function a few hours later. This of course makes the drug moreish and easy to become addicted to.

As a hedonist with an addictive personality, I became addicted – not that I would have called it an addiction myself as usage was kept until the weekend and I worked during the week. Little do people know that if cut wrong by the wrong type of dealer (not that there is a right type), or cut with a substance that does not mix well with Mephedrone, the effects can be disastrous. With a full-time job, this drug became my weekend drug of choice as opposed to alcohol – one gram costing £20 (£15 in some places in Cardiff) and lasting all night even if you share it out with friends, as I often did. In one popular city centre club in particular, I would hazard a guess that at least one third of the club were taking Mephedrone as a prolific drug dealer sells it there. What is the most alarming thing about it is that if caught selling this drug, there is nothing that the club or the police could do to this dealer as this drug is still legal. Why is it taking so long to ban it, with the death toll on the rise?

I only took the drug over the weekend and first took it on Boxing Day 2009, after a so-called friend had convinced me to try it. With it being Christmas and then New Year, from Boxing Day until I returned to work on January 4th, I had one big ‘blow-out’. In addition to taking this drug, I was also smoking Cannabis to ‘bring myself down’ so that I could catch a few hours sleep here and there before another big night out. Other users have been known to take Valium or any other depressant. Giving my body a stimulant and then a depressant, in addition to having little sleep and not eating much, started to take its toll.

I began to lose weight (although I saw this as a plus at the time) and needed copious amounts of coffee to get me through the week at work – caffeine being another dehydrator, although I paid no attention to this as I needed the caffeine. While at work, my time was then spent looking forward to the weekend.

I also began hearing a prolonged beep when smoking Cannabis and the room would zoom in and out of focus. Still I ignored the warning signs, not knowing much about health, as I didn’t share these facts with my family. I was then spiked (or tricked) on Saturday January 17 after being awake with ‘friends’ from a night out on the Friday. Thankfully, this was the last time I took Mephedrone and I am still here to tell the tale. It has since been explained that not only would the spiking have killed me, but the prolonged beep I was hearing was my brain getting ready to shut itself down so I would have been another death on the rising toll – after only three weeks of use.

More needs to be done to warn adults and children of the negative effects of Mephedrone as too many people are still taking it and too many people will continue to try it, until they get a wake-up-call like I did, or until a friend of theirs dies from a bad batch. With the power to empower club owners and the police, the Government should really be doing more to stop this killer before the death toll climbs any higher.

It’s a chilling tale, but one that we should encourage our teenagers to read…just in case.

A number of teenage deaths in the UK in the past year six months have been linked to mephedrone use and last month the drug was finally recognised as an amphetamine and banned in the UK. A week after the banning of mephedrone, its ‘legal high’ successor was already available on the street to the next round of party goers. It’s a synthetic chemical known as MDAI and replicates many of the effects of ecstasy, according to The Guardian.

Mephedrone is banned in Australia, but as we know that won’t stop it from reaching our most vulnerable.

Tags: Addiction · Anxiety · Drugs

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 lou // May 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I worry that my son is using drugs at parties but till now I’ve only worried that its marijuana or maybe pills. But now this? I hope I can get him to 19 alive.

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