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  1. chillinwill
    The annals of drug scares, like the annals of empire, are measured by transitions from monumental to anticlimactic. So leave it to the British, a proud people that have mastered the art both of the colony and of panic journalism, to have their children die from snorting plant food.

    Her name was Gabi. She died after taking a drug “cocktail,” which calls into question the specificity of what killed her (”doing lots of drugs” is frequently a culprit in this situation). But it’s the exciting new powder in the mix that warrants some good old fashioned lock-the-kids-in-the-basement fear.

    It’s called mephedrone, 4-methylmethcathinone to the pedantic, 4-MCAT to the hipper of organic chemists; the street name is “meow meow” which is presumably the kind of pun on the abbreviated moniker that, when one is actually on the drug, becomes by turns hilarious, trenchantly insightful, then horrifyingly vapid. It’s a stimulant of the phenethylamine class, meaning it shares a certain kinship with methamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Unlike those drugs, however, it’s legal.

    And not just legal, convenient. The Daily Mail’s Paul Bracchi even had some delivered to his home, presumably to prove a point (later, he traced the courier back to an apartment where he observed men “of Middle Eastern appearance” and “with an East European accent,” presumably to prove a completely different point. Stay classy, London!). To avoid regulatory interference from the British FDA, it’s sold as plant food, but this doesn’t fool anyone. Mephedrone is very much a psychoactive compound, and its on-label use would end up creating very perky rhododendrons indeed.

    Like its chemical brethren, mephedrone has a strong stimulant effect, though the nuances (as reported by the renowned Burners-pretending-to-be-scientists at Erowid), pleasurability, and levels of MDMA-like hallucinogenic and empathogenic activity varied by user; Vice’s correspondent totally hated it, and those people are professionals. It clearly has a bit more of a kick than plain amphetamines, and indeed, it belongs to a family not seen all too frequently in the Western world: the cathinones.

    Unlike amphetamine, the basic cathinone (called “cathinone,” cleverly enough) is found naturally in the East African khat shrub. An integral part of the nonstop party that is Somalian militia life (it’s like Burning Man, only with more men actually being set on fire), khat carries all the well-documented paranoiac and exhaustive dangers of all stimulants. Like amphetamines, cathinone’s effects gain subtler psychoactive properties when the substance is methylated, ethylated, and otherwise tricked out chemistry style. Thus, meow meow, your feline friend who kills perky blond teenagers.

    This has lead some countries to ban the drug, though not Great Britain and not, to date, the United States. Indeed, the DEA only has one public record of mephedrone on U.S. soil. the closest relative to mephedrone that you can get your hands on, and the only cathinone with any pentration in the U.S. market, is also legal. It’s bupropion, also called Wellbutrin and Zyban. Which may not be plant food, but, as the fourth most frequently prescribed antidepressant, certainly has its adherents.

    Who’dve thought it was such a small step from antidepressants to panic?

    C.A.B. Fredericks
    December 13, 2009
    The Faster Times


  1. EscapeDummy
    I like this guy.
  2. johnnyyen
    the daily mail can always be relied upon to add a touch of racism to its scaremongering hysterical coverage of any matter which has a drug connection..(and most matters that dont)
    it has always been a very right wing leaning paper apart for a brief time in the early 1930's when it was positively fascistic in its views....this came to an end when the powers to be realised that Herr Hitler was a real threat the British empire...it did an about face overnight reverting to the 'john bullesqe' rag that it still is..
  3. Seaquake
    the daily fail's point, as with most things that are "wrong" (in the eyes of the daily fail that is) with Britain, is it's those damned immigrants again (whether they are legal or not).

    edit: damn beaten to it, typical work getting it the way.
  4. muckypup
    Just for the record - and the Mail is very unlikely to report this - it turns out that this girl died of natural causes

    That won't stop the moral panic, though, sadly.

    Here's the text of the piece from the Argus (can't link as I don't have enough posts, sorry)

    Teenager Gabi Price - whose death triggered fears over the dangers of 'legal highs' - died of natural causes, a coroner has revealed.

    A pathologist's report showed the 14-year-old died of broncho-pneumonia following a streptococcal A infection.
    Gabi, of Coleridge Crescent, Worthing, was taken ill at a house in Moulsecoomb, Brighton on Saturday November 21.
    Friends said she had taken the 'legal high' miaow, also known as meow or mephedrone.
    A 39-year-old woman from Brighton and a 17-year-old man from Hove, who were arrested at the time on suspicion of supplying drugs, remain on bail.
    A spokesman for Sussex Police said the conclusion of death from natural causes meant no inquest would take place.
    A statement said: "A post mortem carried out on November 23 gave inconclusive results.
    "Further histology and toxicology tests were then necessary to establish the cause of death.
    "It has now been established that death resulted from cardiac arrest following broncho-pneumonia which resulted from a streptococcal A infection."
  5. chillinwill

    Yes indeed. The article can be found at http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=726726&postcount=48

  6. bcubed

    I was all set to trash the article as "typical, factually-unsupported and pedantic," when a closer look seemed to reveal the journalist was trying for that effect. Almost a "conservative-gonzo" style.

    I can't decide if that's a good thing, or a bad thing.

    It would be nice to believe the typical reader could appreciate deliberately inflammatory journalism for what it is, but I suspect that's asking a bit much.
  7. gregzy
    Oh shit! SWIM is never taking that again I heard it killed someone!

    SWIM better just stick to drinking alcohol at least its safe only 1200 people die...

    ...every day in the UK because of it.

    I think the government and the press should get the prioritys right and sort of the current issues instead of trying to solve ones they caused anyway.
  8. enquirewithin
    So what is it plant food or something to do with cats? Or it may even be connected with terrorism! What have men “of Middle Eastern appearance” and “with an East European accent” (this covers a least two prejudices) got to do with anything? probably a good thing the author didn't know it was made in China!

    Gutter journalism at its best!
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