• mephedrone;
  • synthetic cannabinoid;
  • nightlife;
  • young adult


Introduction and Aims

The emergence of novel psychoactive substances has been reported in clinical studies and recent studies of users. The use of these substances in European nightlife scenes is well documented. Little research has been done to identify the prevalence of these drugs among young adults active in other regions. We focus our sample on socially active young adults to gain an indication of the prevalence and understanding of demographic factors associated with past year mephedrone (‘meph’, ‘bath salts’) and synthetic cannabinoid (‘spice’, ‘K2’) use.

Design and Methods

This study reports on the results of a field-based survey of 1740 patrons at nightlife venues in New York City.


Within the sample, 8.2% reported use of synthetic cannabinoids and 1.1% reported the use of mephedrone. Gay and bisexual men reported higher prevalence of mephedrone use. Latinos reported higher prevalence of synthetic cannabinoid use. Multivariate analyses indicate that sexual minority identity is associated with mephedrone use and younger age and Latino ethnicity are associated with synthetic cannabinoid use.

Discussion and Conclusion

The findings suggest that the use of synthetic cannabinoids and mephedrone among adults in US nightlife scenes remains relatively low in comparison with European nightlife scenes, and is low relative to other drug use among young people within these scenes. [Kelly BC, Wells BE, Pawson M, LeClair A, Parsons JT, Golub SA. Novel psychoactive drug use among younger adults involved in US nightlife scenes. Drug Alcohol Rev 2013;32:588–593]