Addicted to Mephedrone
Mephedrone, a combination of cocaine and ecstasy, holds the dishonorable title of second most popular drug among 16- to 24-year-old Brits, tied with cocaine and just behind cannabis. About 4.4 percent of young people in that age group have used mephedrone within the past year.
A study conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London and published in the November 2011 journal Addiction, presents worrisome findings about the use of mephedrone in the U.K. Researchers from the Institute conducted telephone interviews with 100 self-reported mephedrone users. Using an interview format of the DSM-IV, the researchers asked questions pertaining to seven aspects of drug use which are helpful in determining whether a person is clinically addicted to a substance. Those seven criteria include:
- Increased tolerance for the substance
- Drug consumption that is more than intended
- Attempts to either reduce use or quit which ends in failure
- Lots of time spent either taking the substance or recovering from its use
- Missed social/recreational/professional events
- Continued use despite obvious negative consequences
- Withdrawal symptoms
Three or more positive responses in any of those areas may indicate that a person has developed a substance dependency.
The study results yielded the following data:
- 34 percent said they had serious concerns about their own drug use
- 30 percent of those interviewed met the criterion for addiction
- 22 percent reported struggling with persistent and intense urges to use
- 15 percent said that either friends or family members had mentioned concern about their drug use
- Physical tests revealed that 14 percent still had mephedrone in their urine
A separate survey conducted online found that a quarter of mephedrone users scored three out of seven on the addiction scale. That figure compares to 25 percent of ecstasy users and 24 percent of cocaine users who score in that range. Other statistics reveal that young people are more worried about a friend's mephedrone abuse than alcohol (18 percent), cocaine (16 percent) or cannabis (12 percent).
Since the drug has been listed as Class B and became illegal, street dealers have taken over the market and prices have doubled. Apart from the criminal elements involved, those who are aware of the drug's impact – a lack of sleep and inattention to diet/eating – are concerned that mephedrone users are on track for developing mental health problems. What will it take before people realize that "recreational drug use" is a fallacy?