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Please note that the information on this page is based on the EMCDDA Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe. Most statistical data relate to the year 2009 (or the last year available).

 
 

Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe
New drugs and emerging trends

Published: 15 November 2011

Follow-up on mephedrone

A small number of sources allow some ongoing monitoring of mephedrone use and availability in Europe, primarily Internet surveys with clubbers and studies of online sales. Internet surveys among readers of a UK clubbers' magazine placed lifetime use of mephedrone at around 40 % in 2010 (2 295 respondents, Dick and Torrance, 2010), and 61 % in 2011 (2 560 respondents, Winstock, 2011), though last month use fell from 33 % to 25 % over the same period. These surveys cannot be considered as representative of the wider population of club-goers.

The online availability of mephedrone has been assessed through six EMCDDA Internet studies (snapshots) between December 2009 and February 2011. In the first half of 2010, mephedrone was widely and legally available from suppliers on the Internet, where it was sold both in retail and bulk quantities. EMCDDA snapshots of online drug shops carried out in English showed a peak in mephedrone online availability in March 2010, with 77 retailers offering it for sale. Since then, the total number of online shops selling mephedrone has been falling as, from April 2010, European countries started to place control measures on the substance. Despite mephedrone being controlled in the majority of Member States by early 2011, an EMCDDA multilingual snapshot showed that the drug continued to be available online at this time, with 23 sites identified to be offering mephedrone to buyers in the European Union. Of the original 77 online shops identified in March 2010, only 15 were still in operation a year later and only two of these still sold mephedrone. The 13 remaining shops continued to sell other products, often presented as 'research chemicals' and marketed as 'legal alternatives to mephedrone' (1). The 2011 EMCDDA snapshot also identified a major decrease since 2010 in the number of online shops offering mephedrone that appear to be based in the United Kingdom. In 2011, the country with the highest number of online shops selling mephedrone was the United States (six), followed by the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom (three each). Over the same period, the price of mephedrone increased, from EUR 10-12 per gram in 2010, to EUR 20-25 per gram in 2011.

Intoxications and deaths related to mephedrone continue to be closely monitored by the early-warning system. Non-fatal adverse health effects of mephedrone consumption have been reported in Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 2010, reports were received of 65 suspected mephedrone-related deaths in England, of which tests showed the drug to be present in 46 cases. However, identification of a substance in a toxicology sample does not necessarily mean that it caused or contributed to death, and reports of fatalities linked to mephedrone need to be interpreted with caution.

Footnotes

(1) Such products included MDAI (5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane), 5-IAI (5-iodo-2-aminoindane), MDAT (6,7-methylenedioxy-2-aminotetralin), 5-APB (5-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran, sold as 'Benzo fury'), 6-APB (6-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran), naphyrone (naphthylpyrovalerone, sold as NRG-1), 4-MEC (4-methylethcathinone, sold as NRG-2) and methoxetamine (2-(3-methoxyphenyl)-2-(ethylamino)cyclohexanone).

Bibliographic references

Dick, D. and Torrance, C. (2010), 'MixMag Drugs Survey', Mix Mag 225, pp. 44-53.

Winstock, A. (2011), 'The 2011 Mixmag drugs survey', Mixmag March pp. 49-59.

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Friday, 28 October 2011