Mephedrone 4-methylmethcathinone is an illegal synthetic stimulant drug of the amphetamine and cathinone classes that is widely available and relatively cheap to buy. Users report that its effects are similar to that of speed, ecstasy and cocaine. When mephedrone first came on to the UK market init was classed as a legal high, but due to the high of deaths that resulted from mephedrone, the drug was reclassified as a banned substance under the Psychoactive Substances Act 1. Favoured, for its powerful effects and low cost, the more sinister side of the party drug soon became apparent as deaths associated with it started to rise.
The drug mephedrone, banned almost a year ago, is still easily available to buy on the internet, the BBC has found.
Mephedrone became a class B drug, the same as speed or cannabis, last April. But despite the ban and the risk of up to 14 years in prison for supplying it, dealers are still offering large amounts of the drug on websites. A BBC Radio 5 live investigation found websites offering "deer drugs" including mephedrone, with some even offering free samples to new customers.
After the ban was introduced, some websites closed down while others rebranded themselves as selling compounds they called Research Chemicals - but are actually drugs with names like Benzo Fury, Jolly Bomb Caps and Green Genie Kryptonite. So far these new compounds have not been made illegal.
Meanwhile drug dealers are also moving into the supply of mephedrone in the hope of offering casual users supplies of more addictive drugs like cocaine. Once mixed with glucose to bulk it out, it could make a drug dealer almost 20 times that amount on the UK's streets. One year-old user, from the north-west of England, told the BBC: "I can still get it on the street but the quality's not very good.
It can take you a bit of time to find a good source, but in the end you will find one.
If I can't get any, I'll have the cocaine instead. A survey in the March edition of the dance and clubbing magazine Mixmag spoke to 2, clubbers.
Users said they and their friends had concerns about mephedrone, as little was known about it and research into its side effects was limited. Drugs advice charity Drugscope said users were now its only source of information about the drug. It said they were aware of users' "reviews" of their experiences posted on forums, detailing what cocktail of drugs they have taken and its effects.
Mephedrone, also known as M-Cat, was banned after being blamed for a series of deaths. However, it later emerged that a of deaths were linked to other forms of drug abuse.
The patterns of its usage though concerned drugs experts, as it was seen as particularly attractive to young users who had not come into contact with other drugs before. In Israel became the first country to ban the chemical, said to give users a similar high to amphetamines or cocaine.
What is mephedrone and what does it do?
Clubbers 'still using mephedrone'. UK 'flounders' on web drug trade.
Mephedrone ban comes into effect. Side effects.
What is mephedrone?
More on this story. Published 8 February Published 19 July Published 16 April Related Internet Links. Home Office.