Last August, an Australian man went on a drug-induced crime spree. He swerved his bike in front of a motorist, causing her car to crash. He pulled the driver from her car and sped off in it, sideswiping multiple vehicles until he crashed into a utility pole, knocking out power to over 600 homes. For good measure, he bit the arresting officer.
The man was under the influence of mephedrone, also known as Meow Meow, Drone and MCAT. It is an amphetamine-based, synthetic psychoactive drug. As alarming as his behavior to authorities is, the fact the man took the drug seven days prior and was still under its influence is even worse. Meow Meow is a drug with serious claws.
Other recent Meow Meow incidents
In December 2013, a British university student, high on mephedrone, stabbed his mother and cut off his penis. Neighbors described him as normally a “lovely lad.”
In the U.S., authorities track mephedrone as a member of the bath salts drug class. In a disturbing incident, a 21-year-old male snorted the drug. This launched him on five-day nightmare during which he did not sleep. His odyssey culminated when he slit his throat because he feared what the 25 patrol cars outside the kitchen window would do to him. The patrols did not exist; they were a hallucination.
The young man survived but continued to have paranoid delusions. Shortly after returning home, he went downstairs and killed himself with a rifle.
Effects on dopamine
The common ingredient in bath salts is methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). The reason it produces such extreme reactions in users is, as a stimulant, it is up to 10 times stronger than cocaine. Like all stimulants, MDPV produces excessive dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter related to all things pleasurable. Under normal conditions, nerve cells produce dopamine molecules that travel to other nerve cells in the brain. The molecules then return to the cells that produced them in a process called reuptake. This process creates the sensation of pleasure and well-being.
MDPV causes these dopamine-producing brain cells to work overtime, in essence flooding the brain with dopamine. What makes mephedrone such a nightmare with MDPV is it acts like a delay switch. It also prevents drug levels from returning to baseline readings after a sufficient period of time has elapsed following ingestion. These behaviors work as a perfect storm on the individual, causing both prolonged states of euphoria coupled with mania stretched out over dangerously long periods of time.
Unpredictable contends and dosage
Marc Ryan of Louisiana’s poison control center likens policing bath salts to the arcade game, Whac-a-Mole. “Every time you think you’ve got a handle on it – boom – it pops up in three different places,” he says. In order to stay one step ahead of the law, the manufacturers alter the formula to elude drug tests. This causes erratic fluxes in drug concentration from one batch to the next. He notes his agency confiscated baggies of drugs containing MDPV. One baggy contained 17 milligrams; another, 2,000.
Sovereign Health understands the chemistry behind substance use; we know what is required to return a person’s brain to a healthy homeostasis. Contact our 24/7 helpline to find out how we can help you or a loved one get off and stay off amphetamines and all substances.
About the author:
Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health Group. He worked two and half years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at email@example.com.