06 2010 showed the population of Britain the rise of a scary drug nicknamed MCAT. Techno’Ed explores... Hitting the streets of Britain hard is a new drug more obtainable and harm full than many others. Slowly, young teenagers, drinkers and people who usually would not touch drugs are now finding themselves staying up the whole weekend thanks to plant fertilizer… The chemical name for the drug is 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) but is also known as MCAT, Mieow, Meow, Meph, Mephedrone, 4MMC is Cathinone is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the khat plant and cathinones are a group of drugs related to amphetamine compounds like ecstasy. It derivatives are being sold online as “legal highs.” It is even available to buy on Facebook and is very easy to find when just typing “mcat” in to Google. Large amounts can be bought online at one time, and many people are buying it to sell on. It is a stimulant drug that has similar effects to MDMA and is known to be taken in the same way, either snorted or smoked, but there are probably many alternative ways to take it. The effects include; feeling of euphoria, alertness, talkativeness and feelings of empathy. It also keeps the user very awake and can keep them up days. Bad effects are usually anxiety, paranoid states and a user can risk over stimulating the heart and nervous system to cause fits. The
drug is described as plant food, and is sold online as plant fertilizer and labelled “Not for human consumption.” The Psychonaut Research Project, an EU organisation that searches the internet for detailed information about new drugs, found mephedrone in 2008. Their research shows that the drug became available in 2007. It was first found in France in May 2007, and the police sent a tablet of it to be analysed. It is reported that it was to be sold as “designer drug” but there is only a limit to the knowledge on the drug and hardly anything is known about the pharmacology or toxicology. Apparently, manufacturers are making huge sums of money from selling the drug. It was also reported in Drug link magazine that dealers in Britain spend £2,500 to ship one kilogram from China but can sell it at £10 a gram and make a profit of £7,500, which will eventually make some bad people a lot of money. Many people are using this as a cheap alternative for cocaine and MDMA and what makes it a lot worse, is that younger children are taking it in large amounts because they believe if it isn’t illegal it must be safe. Currently it is illegal under medicines legislation to sell, supply or advertise these cathinone compounds for human consumption, but there is no offence to have it on person. Many pubs and clubs have banned it, because it isn’t illegal and they can’t
tell the difference between it and other drugs such as cocaine, MDMA, etc. A drug survey from mix mag readers showed that mcat is the most popular drug at the moment and people are using it more often than any other euphoric drug. This is almost considered a pandemic and because the limited amount of research there is on the drug, the long term effects could be shocking and upsetting. There are many disadvantages to taking a drug that has never been properly researched, and because it is a “legal high” you know that the effects are very unpredictable. It is obvious that just because it is legal to possess them, doesn’t mean they are safe, and that is the part that influences people to take them. In 2008, in Stockholm, an 18 year old Swedish girl died after taking mephedrone, when already smoking cannabis. The girl was suffering from convulsions and her face turned blue, it was reported she had hypernatremia and eventually the autopsy showed that her brain had swollen. This brought a lot more media attention to the drug and it the handling of the drug was classified as a criminal offence. However, Britain is as usual behind in any health benefactors, and still must decide what they wish to do with the drug, and at which level it will be classified. Because legal highs can contain a variety of harm full chemicals and their
chemical makeup changes all the time so you can never be 100% sure of what you have bought and what it might do to you. It is also usual for users to combine alcohol with the drug, and this can have very dangerous effects including; drowsiness, coma, seizures and even sometime death. It has actually become a pandemic in Britain at the moment. A ridiculous amount of people are indulging in the drug at weekends, and many use it to stay awake for day on end. A physical dependency can also come with using the drug long term, and when off it, the user can feel depressed. It can also cause very chronic nose bleeds. It is important that it is made a lot clearer to children, teens and parents that this I something that hasn’t been researched enough, and taking it is a very bad idea, and will be very harm full to your body in some way or the other. Soon it will be made illegal but until then it is important to pass on the knowledge that this is not something to mess with for a bit of fun at the weekends. This drug is a lot worse than other popular drugs as it is so easy to obtain. It can be bought online; all you need is an account and a card. It is hopeful that when methylmethcathinone is made illegal, police will make a great effort to ensure it is off the streets, as with it, comes potential danger for the children of today and the people of tomorrow. However, many other legal highs have been made illegal recently, and here is hoping that methylmethcathinone will be the next one to be classified.