Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Mephedrone Madness and the Missing Scrotum

Within the past few months in Sydney there have been reports one user tried to castrate himself while under the influence of the drug.
Another severed half a finger using a kitchen appliance and degloved his penis in an apparent circumcision attempt.
-Sydney Morning Herald (AAP)

Oh dear. Where do they get this stuff from? News of a scary new drug scourge called mephedrone that reportedly had users trying to rip off their own scrotum, perform self circumcision and even purposely trying to cut their fingers off. Is this for real? It is, according to several major news outlets including AAP, Sydney Morning Herald, The West Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The CourierMail, Nine News etc.  Mephedrone has officially kicked off it’s career as a media celebrity.

Hehehehe ... trying to rip your own scrotum off! Pa-leeeeze! Are the media that desperate for a scary drug story that they will print anything without first researching it? It reminds of the Dihydrogen Monoxide hoax where several politicians were tipped off about a dangerous drug called Dihydrogen Monoxide and expressed outrage by taking a hard line on it. The problem was that Dihydrogen Monoxide is the chemical name for water.

So where did the information come from that a Sydney man had tried to castrate himself while under the influence of this dangerous new drug? First of all, it wasn’t Sydney but the UK. Secondly, it all stemmed from a UK copper researching a report and including some comments from a drug users web forum. Although the local police were only using the report for a reference, some media hack got his greasy hands on it and published it. The other claims about severing a finger and self circumcision is untraceable. I have searched far and wide but failed to find any truth in the rumour.

The article also links mephedrone to the death of 14-year-old UK schoolgirl, Gabrielle Price last November. Although this was highly publicised, the UK police later said she died from bronchopneumonia not mephedrone. For some reason, not many articles acknowledged this uninteresting fact. 

But it wasn’t just the media who were relying on second generation news originating from an anonymous web forum. Some senior Australian police also failed to do some digging before giving stark warnings to the press. 

But it does on occassion result in psychosis, there have been reports of individuals self-mutilating themselves and there have been reports of deaths

Is this a case of Mephedrone Madness?

Although these horror stories involving self mutilation and death are just making headlines here in the Australia media, a quick search reveals that everyone’s favourite source of divine knowledge, the CourierMail actually published this “ball tearer” of a story last year.

A LEGAL drug known as 'meow meow' led one user to rip off his own scrotum, after he hallucinated for 18 hours and believed centipedes were crawling over his body and biting him. Police in the UK have warned people to stay away from the drug Mephedrone which is sold legally on the internet as plant fertilser. 
-Drug User Rips Off His Scrotum (Nov. 2009) - CourierMail

And this.

Its chemical formula is one molecule different to ecstasy and as such dealers are claiming is not a controlled substance.
-Drug User Rips Off His Scrotum (Nov. 2009) - CourierMail

Without being too technical or elaborate, BULLSHIT!  Just another myth that started when some journalist got his chemistry mixed up. And why would the media want to correct this mistake when linking an unknown substance to a well known drug like ecstasy, sparks instant drug hysteria?

Ironically, the introduction of mephedrone is a result of the "War on Drugs". With the recent crackdown on precursor chemicals for MDMA, the purity of ecstasy has been declining over the last few years. As a government policy, prohibition is a terrible failure especially with so many zealots and so many agendas dictating it. By focussing on popular drugs instead of dangerous drugs, not much thought is put into the ramifications of squeezing supply. The obvious result is manufacturers and dealers bulking up ecstasy pills with filler chemicals to maintain their profit margins as the key ingredient, MDMA becomes harder to obtain and more expensive. The damage is playing out before our eyes as more and more users are needing medical help or dying. This opens up the market for an alternative drug like mephedrone. That old cliché about the “balloon effect” is really the underlying problem with supply reduction strategies. Squeeze one end of the balloon and it bulges somewhere else. In other words, reduce the availability of one drug and another takes it place. The problem is that ecstasy(MDMA) is relatively safe with known consequences but the short and long term effects of mephedrone are unknown except for empirical evidence from users. Experts warn governments constantly about dangerous situations like these but once again the well being of users comes a poor second to political posturing and the demands of selfish, ignorant anti-drug nutters.

Worrying Side Effects Attached To Drug
Jan 2010
By Andrew Drummond

In different forms it's been sold as plant food, but little is known about a new recreational drug hitting Australian streets, other than it prompts acts of horrendous self-mutilation by some users.

Within the past few months in Sydney there have been reports one user tried to castrate himself while under the influence of the drug.

Another severed half a finger using a kitchen appliance and degloved his penis in an apparent circumcision attempt.

The drug in question is 4-methylmethcathinone or mephedrone - but more commonly known as 4-MMC, MMCAT, bubbles, megatron, bath salt or miaow miaow.

As a derivative of methandienone, the drug is a prohibited substance in Australia.

Continuing to prove hugely popular on the UK clubbing scene, the drug is believed to be partly responsible for the deaths of a woman in Sweden in 2008 and a 14-year-old girl in England in November.

It has since been made illegal in some European countries.

The psychoactive drug creates a state of euphoria similar to, but not as extreme as cocaine, with an ecstasy-like hit at the end.

Reports of little after-effects and a mild "come-down" have made the drug popular among young professionals who like to party at the weekend before having to return to work.

Since September 2008, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), along with Australian Customs and the Border Protection Service, have detected 25 attempts to import a combined total of more than 20kg of the drug.

An AFP spokeswoman confirmed that mephedrone "is a new drug that has emerged in Australia".

While prohibited here, the drug is readily available for legal purchase abroad, predominantly in China and Israel.

In Tasmania, police have labelled the drug "Israeli's", because of its country of source, and report its popularity with people who believe it's legal to possess.

"We conducted an investigation at the start of the year and a number of persons were charged with trafficking," Tasmanian Police Detective Inspector Ian Lindsay told The Mercury newspaper in October last year.

He added that since those charges were laid there had been a "dramatic reduction" in the amount of mephedrone seized across the state.

In a report from the Tasmanian Department of Police and Emergency Management, the drug is said to have been possessed "in an attempt to circumvent existing legislation".

In the Northern Territory, a 16-year-old boy faced Darwin Youth Justice Court on January 15 for allegedly importing 1kg of mephedrone, ordered online from a legitimate chemical company in China.

The court heard the boy paid $8,000 and was expected to pay an additional $12,000 when the drug arrived, the NT News reported. The matter is ongoing.

Brisbane-based Rave Safe project coordinator Michael Brennan said use of the drug in Australia was "worrying" and people continued to consume the substance without knowing its effects or what's used in its production.

Typically, mephedrone is mixed with caffeine and the compound can take effect very quickly.

However, for users of other recreational drugs, Mr Brennan said the effect may not be as strong as that to which they've become accustomed.

"Reports are that it's incredibly more-ish, which can be a concern in itself," he said.

"It is one thing to pop one or two tabs of ecstasy, but taking this stuff, they could be inclined to take several hundred milligrams.

"In a way these things are more dangerous because people will take one or two doses and not get the effect they want so then they take a lot more of them.

"When a substance like this comes up that was really only invented only a few years ago, it's hard to say what the effects will be, so it's really worrying to me. It's just a real unknown at this stage."

Typically, the drug is purchased in crystal form and snorted for quick effect, but can also be taken orally.

Mr Brennan said mephedrone had proven popular among ecstasy users, but added that few seemed to move onto long-term use.

"I think some people are quite happy with that effect, that you don't get this terrible after-effect with it," he said.

"A lot of ecstasy users have been taking it for a try, but a lot of long-term users have gradually lost the attraction to it.

"And I would bet that 4M CC will slowly disappear into the background."

As a stimulant, the drug affects the human cardio system and users have experienced varying symptoms including palpitations, paranoia, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches and short-term memory loss.

In one case, documented in an online forum, following the consumption of about 100mg over a week, a male user noticed his fingers and knees turn a dark red to purple colour before he passed out.

After about six months, including a short stint in hospital, the discolouration disappeared, but the symptoms returned after again trying a small amount of mephedrone.

In the Sydney cases, it's unknown whether the male users were also under the influence of other substances, but online discussions about the drug frequently list paranoia as a common side-effect.

Both men were hospitalised for their injuries, but NSW Health does not have a system in place to record how many patients have been admitted to hospital due to the drug.

Nor is the use of mephedrone recorded by major agencies, including the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, or the Centre for Population Health.

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users' League in Canberra has only anecdotal data about the drug.

All agencies report having been made aware of the drug's existence in Australia since about 2008, but concede there is little or no information about mephedrone.

Online forums suggest Australian use or sampling of the drug is most popular in states along the eastern seaboard.

Part of the drug's appeal is its relative cheapness, with online advertisements for various forms of mephedrone available from $170 for 100mg.

Related Articles

New Drug Prompts 'Horrendous' Effects - The West Australian
New Party Drug Can Cause Self Mutilation - The West Australian / The Age
Drug User Rips Off His Scrotum - The CourierMail
New Party Drug Arrives With A Big 'Miaow' - The Adelaide Advertiser
Drugs Mailed Inside Teddy Bear - ABC News
Worrying Side Effects Attached To Drug - Nine News


Firesnake said...
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Firesnake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry Wright said...

Thanks Firesnake for the link. I have included it in the article.

celltech said...

I feel ashamed for our society. The reporting is clueless. In the extreme. A level of stupidity... ..
The word "special" comes to mind.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks CellTech

LOL ... special, yes that's the word!