Last published: June 26, 2019
Note: Mephedrone is a relatively new drug. To date, there is limited evidence of how widely it is used in Australia. Due to the lack of formal research about its use and effects, much of the information used in this fact sheet has been taken from people who have used the drug, rather than from scientific sources. (This page will be updated once more information is known.)
What is mephedrone?
Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and body.1 Mephedrone is classed among New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), a range of drugs that have been designed to produce effects similar to those of established illicit drugs.
It was originally marketed online as a plant fertiliser or ‘research chemical’.1
Mephedrone comes in different forms, including:
- white powder with a yellowish tinge
Meph, meow, meow-meow, m-cat, plant food, drone, bubbles, kitty cat.1
Other types of commonly used stimulants
How is mephedrone used?
Mephedrone powder is usually sniffed/snorted or swallowed.2 Swallowing is the most common way of taking the drug. It is usually mixed with liquid to drink or wrapped in a cigarette paper (known as ‘bombing’).2 There are also reports of people injecting the drug.3
Effects of mephedrone
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.6
Mephedrone affects everyone differently, based on:
- the amount taken
- a person’s size, weight and health
- whether the person is used to taking it
- whether other drugs are taken around the same time
- the strength of the drug (which varies from batch to batch).
The following effects may be experienced and may last for two-to-four hours:
- rush of intense pleasure
- feeling happy, energetic and wanting to talk more
- intense connection with music
- restless sleep
- muscle tension (face and jaw)
- blurred vision
- light-headedness, dizziness
- distorted sense of time
- memory loss
- nose bleeds from sniffing/snorting the drug
- enlarged (dilated) pupils, blurred vision
- dry mouth, thirst
- reduced appetite
- stomach pains, nausea, vomiting
- skin rashes
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- high blood pressure and hot flushes
- strong urge to re-dose
- chest pain
- tremors, convulsions.1,2
Mephedrone has been linked to some deaths in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. Injecting mephedrone can cause soft tissue and vascular damage.4
Sharing needles may also transmit:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
If a large amount of mephedrone is consumed, it could cause an overdose. If any of the following effects are experienced, an ambulance should be called immediately by dialing triple zero (000).
- limbs tingling and turning blue (due to narrowing of the blood vessels)
- respiratory failure4
In the days after mephedrone use, the following may be experienced:
- restless sleep
- low mood
- wounds, sores taking longer to heal3
- memory loss.2
Regular use of mephedrone may eventually cause:
- difficulty sleeping
- muscle spasms
- seeing and hearing things that aren’t there
- needing to use more mephedrone to get the same effect
- financial, work and social problems.
Using mephedrone with other drugs
The effects of taking mephedrone with other drugs – including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous. The following combinations could have the following effects:
- Mephedrone + ice, speed or ecstasy: increased risk of harms, including death.6
- Mephedrone + alcohol + cannabis: nausea and vomiting.1
Giving up mephedrone after using it for a long time can be challenging because the body has to get used to functioning normally without it.
Reported symptoms include:
- increased appetite
- stuffy nose
- feeling anxious
- feeling depressed, emotional, tearful
- difficulty concentrating.7
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- DrugScope. (2016). Mephedrone, methedrone, methadrone and methylone.
- DrugScope. (2013). Mephedrone fact sheet.
- Injecting Advice. (2012). IV use of mephedrone.
- Youth RISE. (n.d.). Mephedrone.
- Maskell, P., De Paoli, G. Seneviratne, C. & Punder, D. (2011). Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone)-related deaths. Journal of Analytical Toxicology,35(3),188–9. Retrieved from Pub Med
- DrugScience. (2012). Mephedrone.
- Winstock, A. & Marsden, J. (2010). Mephedrone: assessment of health risks and harms. Prepared for European Monitoring centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.