Students to report on effects of mephedrone in University study

By chillinwill · Mar 22, 2010 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    A group of students are set to become human "guinea pigs" in an experiment to test the effects of "legal high" drug mephedrone.

    The 50-strong team will be recruited by John Moores University (JMU) in Liverpool to report the effects of the drug which has recently been linked to a number of deaths.

    Pressure is mounting on the Government to ban the substance, which is known as Mcat or Miaow Meow.

    Two teenagers, Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, were found dead in Scunthorpe, after allegedly taking the high.

    It can be snorted through the nose, like cocaine, or dabbed on the tongue.

    Marketed as a type of plant food, packets bought over the internet are labelled "not for human consumption" to exploit a legal loophole.

    The public health department at JMU has won "ethical approval" to begin researching the drug with the help of students determined to get their weekend thrills.

    Volunteers who take mephedrone will be put in touch with scientists based in the university laboratory.

    While getting "high", they will be questioned by university academics throughout the night about their different states of consciousness.

    Tests will study their thoughts and ability to think coherently, as they are asked to describe how they feel on an "adjective bar", with "sad" or "depressed" at the bottom and "euphoric" or "very happy' at the top.

    Further tests include matching objects to numbers and being asked to recall logical sequences.

    Their responses will be inputted into a database and volunteers asked to attend a post-interview, some days later, to analyse their "come down."

    But academics were keen to stress they were not supplying the substance to students and those taking part would already be using the legal high regardless of the university tests.

    Dr Cathy Montgomery, senior lecturer in psychology, said: "Nobody is an expert in mephedrone. "It's only in the last year that we've seen use of it. Most evidence comes from people anecdotally.

    "They liken it to a euphoric stimulant, similar to ecstasy.

    "People say it increases energy, openness and improves their sociability. It can also lead to pupil dilation, goose bumps, and blood pressure and heart rate going up.

    "Supply of mephedrone is relatively easy, and the substance itself relatively pure.

    "Students here at Liverpool JMU tell us they prefer to use mephedrone over the drugs they were using before. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is to issue a report into a group of legal highs, including mephedrone, at the end of this month.

    Mephedrone is already illegal in Israel, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

    March 22, 2010

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  1. LadyGrinningSoul
    Swim is glad this is getting independent research before the ban. But swim is hoping that it involves more than what is stated in the article. Simply taking it and reported how the user feels isn't gonna bring any new conclusions.
  2. popco
    Hell yeah! finally a step in the right direction, although I agree LGS, I hope they're going to dig a little deeper than that made it sound. One thing that I really hope they investigate is the general health and fitness of the individuals as this surely is one of the biggest factors involved in how your body and mind handle stressors. I'm sure if they performed a controlled test with one group being the england football team, and the others what represents the majority of england, they'd have some insanely different results on their hands!
  3. popco
    I would also be very interested in a test, and this could be applied to any stimulant type drug, where administration of said drug was treated the same way that intense exercise should be treated. I'm sure that if a person exercised continuously for 2/3 days without proper nutrition or sleep you'd feel pretty terrible. I have a theory that stimulant type drugs and exercise have fairly similar mechanisms of action and effects. I'm not in a position to test this however so if anyone who is ever fancied trying this out please keep me in the loop.
  4. Terrapinzflyer
    Liverpool John Moores University axes controversial mephedrone tests

    A CITY university has scrapped a study testing the controversial drug mephedrone on students.

    Plans to monitor the effects of the one-time legal high raised eyebrows when the ECHO exclusively revealed details of the project in March.

    John Moores university (JMU) won “ethical approval” to research how the white powder impacted upon Liverpool students who were already taking the substance in nightclubs.
    But as alarm grew nationally following deaths of party-goers who took the plant food, also known as “Mcat” or “Miaow Miaow”, the study came under intense scrutiny.

    In April, the synthetic stimulant was outlawed by the government as laws categorising it as a Class B drug were rushed through Parliament.

    Now, after months of deliberation, JMU has confirmed it has cancelled all work on the scheme following the reclassification.

    A spokeswoman told the ECHO: “This particular research project at the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology was discontinued following the change in the legal status of mephedrone.

    “However, a team at the School of Pharmacy and Bimolecular Sciences is continuing its own area of research into the damaging effects of this drug.”

    JMU bosses said they had reviewed “protocols” ahead of the project, which was set to begin in autumn.

    Southport MP John Pugh today described the decision as a “wise and inevitable move”.
    He told the ECHO: “At the time, when I heard about this project, I wondered about the justification and principle behind encouraging people to evaluate something which could be dangerous.

    “If John Moores university is now adopting a policy of caution, it seems well advised.”
    JMU had planned to check the effects of mephedrone on 50 students, linking up with scientists in its laboratories.

    While getting “high” on the substance, the participants would be questioned about how they were feeling.

    They were also to be set various mental challenges, for example recalling logical sequences, to see how the drug impacted on their thought process.

    The substance made headlines in March after Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, died in Scunthorpe.

    Toxicology tests later showed they had not taken the drug.

    Within months of the ban, medics began to highlight substitute products being sold as alternatives to mephedrone, “second generation products” called Energy 1, NRG-1 or naphyrone.

    Aug 16 2010 by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo
  5. corvardus
    Unsurprising, that. Such a study would require home office approval to continue. Since they outlawed Mephedrone before even the research could be completed there is no point in continuing under its current guise.
  6. salviablue
    A) What's it to do with him?
    He is in the Sefton constituency (or whatever its called), seperate from the City of Liverpool. Southport apparently wanted to be part of Liverpool, Liverpool didn't want it, Lancashire turned its back (Southport used to be part of the Red Rose), so its stuck with no friends. Plus its a Lib Dem area, yet the personal politique of those mp's (/that mp) that stand for it, differs from LibDem manifesto.....

    B) What an idiotic statement "I wondered about the justification and principle behind encouraging people to evaluate something which could be dangerous".......
    I take it then that 'we' are no longer testing anything then?
  7. Seaquake
    completely off topic, Southport is in Merseyside. Southport likes to think it's in Lancs., probably partly because it has a Preston post code, even though it is not and wanted to go back but the boundary commission or whoever it is didn't approve it. But if you want to go that way Liverpool used to be part of the Red Rose too. Sefton encompasses quite a large chunk of North Liverpool. Given that Louise Ellman's son is\was a Head shop owner, she probably wasn't going to comment. Or the other more likely reason was none of the other local MPs were around to comment. Oh and I guess the fact strictly speaking he's on the Government benches too.
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