An increasing number of regular ecstasy users are combining the drug with mephedrone in Australia’s capital cities, according to research.
The study revealed frequent ecstasy users who also took mephedrone were more likely to have engaged in unprotected sex and be involved in crime, than those who did not combine the drugs.
The authors found ecstasy users who said they had also consumed mephedrone had typically snorted or swallowed it at a rate of once every two months.
“In the present study there was no difference between regular ecstasy users who had or had not used mephedrone on a range of variables.
“However, compared to other regular ecstasy users in this study those who had recently used mephedrone were typically younger and more likely to report recent use of psychedelics, ketamine and amyl nitrite/nitrous oxide.
“They were also more likely to have engaged in some risky drug use… and the present research suggests an increased incidence of unsafe sex among users of the drug,” the said.
The research also reported mephedrone use among ecstasy users was most prevalent in Tasmania, where almost half of regular ecstasy users said they had used the two drugs together, while 28 per cent of Victorians, 16 per cent of Western Australians and 13 per cent of Queenslanders who frequently took ecstasy said they combined it with mephedrone.
The authors stressed the need for health workers to understand the impact mephedrone can have on users.
“Given the recent increase in use and availability of mephedrone in Australia, it is important for health workers to be familiar with this drug and its effects.
“It is also important that users receive credible and timely harm reduction messages,” they said.
7 December 2010
by Nick O'Donoghue
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