mephedrone

An interesting letter was published in the British Medical Journal today about the alternative products that have popped up to replace the now illegal drug mephedrone.

One product that seems to have become particularly popular is known as NRG-1, also advertised as naphyrone (napthylpyrovalerone).

Naphyrone has a similar structure to the cathinones such as mephedrone, banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act back in April. Although a number of cathinones were made illegal along with mephedrone, naphyrone wasn’t covered by the ruling and is now being sold as ‘the new mephedrone’ – a legal high.

So to see what this new drug of choice might actually be, a group of researchers led by analytical chemist Simon Brandt at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, bought 17 NRG-1 products from a dozen UK-based websites in the six weeks following the mephedrone ban.

Results of Brandt’s chemical analysis showed that most of the products were in fact the banned cathinones just rebranded for consumers with a catchy new name, and most had some mishmash of ingredients common to illegal street drugs. You can see what people are actually getting when they buy these drugs in the table below.

In response to the concerns over the rapid increase in these legal highs, the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has issued a letter to the Home Secretary saying that it expects that naphyrone will have a ‘similar spectrum of harmful effects as other previously controlled cathinones’, and it could be easier to accidentally take an overdose.  The council has recommended that naphyrone be made illegal and placed in the same class of illegal substances as mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Anna Lewcock

Website No Label* Comment
1 NRG-1 Butylone + MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone)
2 NRG-1 Flephedrone (4-fluoromethcathinone)
3 NRG-1 Flephedrone + MDPV
3 NRG-2 Methyl-N-ethylcathinone
4 NRG-1 Flephedrone + MDPV
5 NRG-1 Caffeine + traces of mephedrone
6 NRG-1 Naphyrone
7 NRG-1 Butylone + MDPV
8 MDAI Inorganic composition
9 NRG-1 Mephedrone
10 NRG-1 Inorganic composition
10 NRG-2 Mephedrone + benzocaine
11 NRG-1 Mephedrone
11 NRG-2 Mephedrone
11 DMC Caffeine + lidocaine
11 MDAI Mephedrone
12 NRG-2 4-Methyl-N-ethylcathinone

*DMC=dimethocaine, MDAI=5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane

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