MEPHEDRONE, a legal high with effects similar to "ecstasy plus cocaine", is fast becoming Britain's drug of choice according to a survey in dance magazine Mixmag.
Today's Metro London newspaper reports that mephedrone, which was unheard of little more than a year ago, is already the fourth most popular drug amongst Britain's clubbers (after ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis) and is fast overtaking cocaine as recreational drug of choice on the middle-class dinner-party circuit.
Priced at £45 for 5 grams of upwards 90% purity against cocaine ~ £50 for one gram of possibly less than 15% purity "economically it's a no-brainer" says 30 year-old "Paul" a London-based osteopath who adds, "And it's delivered to the door so you don't have to cross the city to meet some guy on a council estate."
Mephedrone's rise in popularity goes hand-in-hand with cocaine's fall in quality. "People are sick and tired of spending high amounts on rubbish drugs. At least with meow you know what you're getting and it also gives you the impression you're not funding the wrong people; some sites are run by people who are genuinely selling it for plants," explains Paul, who is either naïve or stupid, or thinks we are.
4-methylmethcathinone is a close relation to cathinone, which is to the khat leaves commonly chewed by Somali immigrants what cocaine is to coca leaves. Commonly known as miaowmix or miaow-miaow, mephedrone is a crystalline white powder with a candy-like aroma. Like MDMA (ecstasy) it is a member of the phenylethylamine family of compounds, which includes MDA and mescaline. Most of these were made illegal in Britain in 1977 after an MDA factory was discovered in rural Wales. Mephedrone remains legal in the UK by being too molecularly distant to fit current drugs legislation.
I was given a free 200mg sample some months ago (remember? I didn't even know what the stuff WAS!) and can report that after snorting up the nose, which was about as pleasant as snorting a line of powdered ginger, the high came on within three and a half minutes, was considerably stronger and longer lasting than any coke I've tried (I was never much into snorty coke for the reasons outlined above ~ I think people are wasting money on something cut nearly to extinction and basically kidding themselves)... the high had a transcendent "E"-like quality and went on for about three hours, taking a further three hours or more to tail off. I can certainly understand its popularity with nightclubbers.... but that phase of my life is over with and I don't really want to relive it.
The guy who gave me the freebie, incidentally, chucked himself under a tube train a couple of months later... whether there is any connexion between that and the drug I've absolutely no idea...
Mephedrone hit the headlines in December 2009 when 14 year-old Gabi Price from Brighton died after taking the drug on a night out with friends.
The Linc: dangerous new legal high
MEOW MIX 1984 TV AD
It's a cracker... this is one of my favourite telly ads of all time. I was pleasantly surprised to see someone else had actually (1) saved it on tape and (2) loaded it to Youtube! Note the Noel Cowardesque "I went to boarding school in 1914" rolled Rs ~ a throwback to the days when a posh voice could even sell catfood. Have a look, it's really funny:
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