So the tabloid's scaremongering and excessive daily coverage of Mephedrone has finally paid off. In a knee jerk reaction the government has made Mephodrone a class B illegal substance after 25 related deaths. Even though there has been no in depth conclusive research as to wether or not there are any negative effects from the Drug and none of the related deaths have been proved to have been caused solely by the substance.
However is banning the substance actually going to help? Since it was made illegal the price of Mephedrone has risen from around £12-15 a gram upto £35 a gram. Pushing the drug underground is not necessarily going to stop people taking it. If anything it has gone from being sold in retailers as a packaged product to a street drug which could be cut with all manner of substances and also fund organized crime as other drugs do. Sure the transition from Mephedrone being a legitimate product which could be bought on the internet with a bank card to an underground one will put some people off but a vast majority of users wont mind. With more legal highs apparently being rushed to fill the gap in the estimated £10 million market left by Mephodrone, this is obviously only the beginning of the legal high era.
A leading UK medical journal entitled "The Lancet Medical Journal" said "the manner in which Mephodrone was dealt with signalled a collapse in integrity of scientific advice in the UK" they also state that...
"It is too easy and potentially counterproductive to ban each new substance that comes along rather than seek to understand more about young people's motivations and how we can influence them."
This is exactly where the government and the media have gone wrong. Banning the drug won't help. Young people will still be exploited and put in danger. What needs to be adressed is the reasons that people want to take substances like Mephedrone. Take it away and it will be replaced by another one. However improving education about drugs so that people know the risks and look after themselves is a million times more constructive than simply slapping Class B on it and a potential five year prison sentence for posession. "The Meow is for Pussies" campaign is doing exactly that.
Already, almost no sooner than the Lancet's words were printed and new legal highs are going into production. Rumours are flying around the internet of new analogues which apparently will be hitting our streets in a matter of weeks.
1. MDAI - an anti depressant with similar effects to MDMA (but they all say that)
2. NRG-1 - featured in this issue as a possible contender for Mephodrones spot and another one with similar effects to ecstasy. Described by the Sun as some sort of lethal crystal meth substitute. (NRG 1 ARTICLE )
3. NOPAINE - a freebase Smokable Cocaine replacement which gives a Dopamine rush similar to Freebased cocaine.
4.PI PANES - Blotters impregnated with chemical that is 3.2 times stronger than LSD.
5. Double Dunts -5ml phial of liquid that gives equivalent of 5 double vodkas.
6. XI - made up of three different non neurotoxic chemicals MDAI, MDMAI and MMAI.
7. XT - made up of two different non neurotoxic chemicals MDAT and MDMAT.
8. EUFORIA -4-Methyl alpha ethyl tryptamine. - who knows ?
9. CK1 - A ketamine analog with an added cocaine euphoria.
Some of these sound completely crazy. But their being mentioned on forums. We found those ones on www.bluelight.ru one of many legal high discussion forums. As Lancet predicted banning the substance hasnt helped and its easy to imagine this process of a drug becoming popular then banned only to be replaced with another legal drug happening over and over again. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
Mephodrone and Legal Highs in the news...