Mephedrone (M-Cat, Meow, Bath Salts, Bubbles)

Designer Drugs: Mephedrone – Bath Salts Possession Drug Defense Attorneys, Serving all of New Jersey including Middlesex, Ocean, Mercer, Union and Monmouth Counties

Drug Information About Mephedrone, 4-Methylmethcathinone

Street names:  M-Cat, Meow, 4-MCC, Meph, Bubbles, Drone, Bath Salts

Drug Classification: Mephedrone is federally unscheduled, though it could be classified as an analog of another controlled substance and would therefore be illegal to sell for human consumption or to posses with the intent of consumption under the Federal Analogue Act.

Mephedrone and five other stimulant “bath salts” are banned in New Jersey and are considered a Schedule I substance under New Jersey law.  As of May 7, 2011, possession, sale or distribution of “bath salts” is now punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.  Read more

A Dangerous Designer Drug

4-Methylmethcathinone, or Mephedrone, is a synthetic chemical with stimulant and euphoric effects. It is a “designer drug,” created to try to get around existing drug laws. It gained popularity starting in 2007 across Europe as a legal alternative to drugs like MDMA and cocaine.

Mephedrone is fast-acting and known for the intense rush it produces. Recreational users of mephedrone seek its euphoric and stimulating effects to increase sociability, make them more empathetic or open, and otherwise feel pleasurably sped-up. Physical effects include increased heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure, sweating, pupil dilation, and decreased appetite.

Unscheduled Federally, but a Schedule I substance in New Jersey

Mephedrone is federally unscheduled and sold in packets or pouches labeled as “bath salts.” It is a white, crystalline powder that is either swallowed or snorted (insufflated). As its use increased it was responsible for several deaths in European countries and was classified as a controlled substance in places such as the UK and Sweden. It remains unscheduled in the US, though New Jersey just classified mephedrone, along with other “bath salts,” as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Side Effects

Side effects include unusual and sometimes unpleasant bodily sensations like chills, flushing, or goose bumps, as well as jaw clenching, muscle twitching, involuntary eye movements, dizziness, vertigo, and a racing heartbeat. Users may experience impaired short-term memory and insomnia. Day-after effects from light doses are minimal, with little to no hangover. Heavy doses and use can cause mental problems and symptoms related to vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels, which slows and decreases blood flow in the body. These symptoms may last days or even weeks. Snorting mephedrone can be quite painful and can cause swelling and pain in the nose, throat, and sinuses. Visual or psychedelic effects that can occur on substances like MDMA are rare or non-existent with mephedrone, as it is best known for its stimulating euphoria and tendency to cause compulsive re-dosing.

Strong Psychological Addiction

While mephedrone was initially marketed as a non-addictive alternative to stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine, the evidence points to the fact that mephedrone causes addictive patterns that are on par with or worse than those of other stimulants. Mephedrone’s relatively short duration gives users strong cravings to re-dose when the effects seem to start to wear off. This is made worse by the fact that users will try to achieve the intense rush they felt initially, creating a cycle where people consume much more mephedrone than they had originally intended.

Users report major difficulty limiting their use within a short period of time, since cravings to re-dose can be so powerful. Oral ingestion of mephedrone does not give as intense of a rush, but does have a longer duration. Snorting mephedrone is therefore associated with addiction or compulsive use of the drug.

While mephedrone does not appear to be physically addictive, so withdrawal symptoms will be minor and not life threatening, strong psychological addiction appears to be a major concern with this substance.

Serious Health Risks and Deaths

Several deaths have been associated with mephedrone use in conjunction with other stimulants, resulting in cardiovascular failure. Long-term health risks associated with mephedrone include the contraction and narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction), which can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities, headaches and dizziness, and skin discoloration such as “bluing” of the knees, legs, arms, hands, face, and lips.

Overdose Symptoms

Overdose symptoms of mephedrone include irregular heartbeat, blurred tunnel vision, sweating and high body temperature, and convulsions. The vasoconstriction can be partially treated with benzodiazepines, though immediate medical attention and supervision is still needed.