Mephedrone: use, subjective effects and health risks

Authors

  • Adam Winstock,

    Corresponding author
    1. Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK,
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  • Luke Mitcheson,

    1. Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK,
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  • John Ramsey,

    1. St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK and St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK
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  • Susannah Davies,

    1. St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK and St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK
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  • Malgorzata Puchnarewicz,

    1. St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK and St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK
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  • John Marsden

    1. Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK,
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    • Order of authors amended after online publication, 3rd August 2011; John Marsden is the senior author on this paper.


Adam Winstock, King's College London, Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Box 48, Addiction Sciences Building, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF, UK. E-mail: adam.winstock@kcl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Aims  To assess the patterns of use, subjective effect profile and dependence liability of mephedrone, supported by corroborative urine toxicology.

Design  Cross-sectional structured telephone interview.

Setting  UK-based drug users associated with the dance music scene.

Participants  A total of 100 mephedrone users, recruited through their involvement with the dance music scene.

Measurements  Assessment of pattern of use, acute and after effects, DSM dependence criteria and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry urinalysis.

Findings  Mephedrone consumption results in typical stimulant-related subjective effects: euphoria, increased concentration, talkativeness, urge to move, empathy, jaw clenching, reduced appetite and insomnia. Thirty per cent of the sample potentially met criteria for DSM-IV dependence and there was evidence of a strong compulsion to use the drug (47% had used the drug for 2 or more consecutive days). Self-reported recent consumption of mephedrone was confirmed by toxicological analysis in all of the 14 participants who submitted a urine sample.

Conclusion  Mephedrone has a high abuse and health risk liability, with increased tolerance, impaired control and a compulsion to use, the predominant reported dependence symptoms.

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