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Mar 162010

The media (I’ve picked the BBC but they are not the only ones) have come up with a news story about two teenagers who died after apparently taking mephedrone (apparently a legal recreational drug). The story is horribly slanted towards the point of view of those who want to make mephedrone illegal. That is not to say that the drug is in any way safe, but if you look beyond the headlines, it gets a little more interesting.

The BBC (see the above) reported that the two teenagers had been drinking until the early hours before taking mephedrone, before (in a TV news report) also taking methadone. And then died. According to the report “post-mortems are being carried out”, but despite the fact that the cause of death is unknown (otherwise why bother with a post-mortem ?), the headlines imply that the cause of death was mephedrone.

Why? It is perfectly possible to die from an overdose of alcohol alone, and when you combine it with another two recreational drugs, well who is to say which one is responsible ? Taking one recreational drug increases the risk of something nasty happening; taking three does not just increase the risk additionally – there may be poor interactions between the drugs to dramatically increase the risk.

It may be that mephedrone killed these two teenagers. It may be that alcohol killed these two teenagers. It may even be that methadone killed these two teenagers.

Or it could be the combination of two or even all three drugs was particularly dangerous and killed these two teenagers.

Whilst mephedrone itself may be harmful and there may well be a case for making it a controlled substance, inaccurate reporting such as this does not help anyone make an informed decision about the risks of this “legal high”.

This post originally referred to the drug in question as “methadrone” – a common mistake amongst those who have heard the drug’s name rather than seen it written; the correct spelling is “mephedrone”.

  • no comment

    how can this be a serious comment. how many people do you know that are friends and drink alcohol on the same night out and die. get a grip people are taking crap that they know nothing about and dying and people like you are still defending it. get a grip

  • 1/ Whilst I don’t know of two friends going out and drinking themselves to death, I
    did have an acquaintance who died from alcohol poisoning so it is possible. It is
    probably more common than “deaths from methadrone”.

    2/ I’m not defending the use of methadrone; I’m pointing out that the media is
    implying the deaths are due to methadrone when we don’t actually know what
    the cause of death is.

    3/ A quick search indicates that methadrone is particularly likely to interact badly
    with other drugs. Which indicates to me that these deaths are likely due to the
    cocktail of drugs. If you’re foolish to take methadrone, you’re three times as
    foolish to take methadrone, methadone, and alcohol.

  • jack

    Mixing opiates and amphetamines will be the cause of death rather than either of the two individually.

    Currently there have been NO DEATHS from Methadrone alone.

  • doc

    The two lads took methadone which is an opioid that is used mainly to wean people off their addiction to Heroin so its an heroin substitute!

    I dont think mephedrone caused the deaths i believe it was the cocktail of mephedrone, methadone and Drink!

    Media trying to sell papers again by exaggerating things!

  • There was 9,031 deaths from Alcohol in 2008!

  • Then you read futher down and the parents say
    “Tony and Elaine Smith said they believed their son would not have taken mephedrone if it was illegal”

    What about the the heroin substitute methadone he took as well ?
    Its a Class A drug – illegal to have, give away or sell!
    Why did he take that it it wouldnt take anything illegal!
    Media makes me angry

  • Mat

    Mephedrone has never killed anyone ON ITS OWN!
    Ive taken many times and never had any problems, the media blow everything up to be so big and terrible. Its a shame they dont listen to anyone who has actually used this often.
    The cocktail of drugs these people who have died have taken along with mephedrone is unbeliviable!
    Methodone! For recovering heroin addicts! if these boys never took drugs as their poor parents say, how the hell did they get methodone in the first place?
    And alot of the others took ketamine and so on and nearly all were drinking 2! People apperently tripped out and all sorts! sorry not me.
    I do feel sorry for the people have died but i still dont think they should ban something they dont know anything about! Just because of media pressure!

  • Pingback: Mephadrone Deaths ?? Part 2 | More Zonkyness()

  • Sam

    My friend died on Saturday from blood clots in his brain, induced by drone. It kills, definitely after prolonged use- its just a matter of time.

  • TimJ

    I take care of a man in his 40’s who had a debilitating stroke that basically leaves him unable to walk talk, or basically do anything without assistance and while I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meph related, Its was insufflating powerful stimulants related and since the all do pretty much the same think in the body circulatory wise. I would say luck and dose as some factor in everything you choose to do. And there are things worst than death . I obviously i take methadone from an mm program, down to around 10mg’s or so im blind dosing atm, and just recently found the bath salt drugs around my bfe town and figured i’d try them out, im still dealing with the unpleasant parts of it as i type this(sleeplessness clinched jaw) and was just searching for info on this newly aquired drug experience , Seems like most issues are over in uk eu ect, we’ll see if the US does anybetter on the legality of this issue, besides caffiene (and i’m sure its somewhat regulated) there are really no other decent stimulants that aren’t regulated or forbidden.

  • It is a shame that teenagers are using this chemical in ways that it was not intended.

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