The bill to outlaw the psychoactive cathinone mephedrone was hurried through parliament earlier this year, but a study published in the Lancett has found that users are still getting hold of the substance. Its ban has also lead to the rise of ‘legal alternatives’ which are themselves banned cathinones.
Dr. Adam Winstock and colleagues surveyed users in June 2010 and compared the results to a similar survey taken in 2009. “Of the 150 respondents to the 2010 survey, 95 (63%) reported that they had continued to use mephedrone since the law had changed.” Said Dr. Winstock. “52 of these respondents (55%) said that they intended to continue using the same amount of mephedrone, and 38 (40%) reported that they would now use less.” The findings suggest that the controlling of the substance, which was made class B drug in April, has had little effect in preventing the use or availability of the drug
There has also been a rise in alternative legal highs, such as NRG 1. Earlier this year Dr. Simon Brandt along with colleagues at the Liverpool John Moores University tested a number of mephedrone replacements that they had ordered on-line. They found that a significant number contained variations of the banned cathinone.