Mephedrone: use, subjective effects and health risks

Adam Winstock*, Luke Mitcheson, John Ramsey, Susannah Davies, Malgorzata Puchnarewicz, John Marsden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

217 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To assess the patterns of use, subjective effect profile and dependence liability of mephedrone, supported by corroborative urine toxicology. 

Design: Cross-sectional structured telephone interview. 

Setting: UK-based drug users associated with the dance music scene. 

Participants: A total of 100 mephedrone users, recruited through their involvement with the dance music scene. 

Measurements: Assessment of pattern of use, acute and after effects, DSM dependence criteria and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry urinalysis. 

Findings: Mephedrone consumption results in typical stimulant-related subjective effects: euphoria, increased concentration, talkativeness, urge to move, empathy, jaw clenching, reduced appetite and insomnia. Thirty per cent of the sample potentially met criteria for DSM-IV dependence and there was evidence of a strong compulsion to use the drug (47% had used the drug for 2 or more consecutive days). Self-reported recent consumption of mephedrone was confirmed by toxicological analysis in all of the 14 participants who submitted a urine sample. 

Conclusion: Mephedrone has a high abuse and health risk liability, with increased tolerance, impaired control and a compulsion to use, the predominant reported dependence symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1991-1996
Number of pages6
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Abuse
  • cathinone
  • dependence
  • legal highs
  • mephedrone
  • risks
  • toxicology
  • UK


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