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M-Cat. Meow-Meow. White Magic. Bubbles. Plant Feeder. Meph...

These are all street names for Mephedrone, a drug first synthesized in 1929, but lay dormant until 2003, when it was "rediscovered," and by 2007, was available on the internet. Now on the radar, the legal community noticed it, and in 2008, Israel made it illegal, quickly followed by Sweden. By 2010, it had spread across the greater part of Europe, and in December 2010, the EU declared it illegal. It took the United States until September 2011 to classify it, and effective by October 2011, it was temporarily classified as illegal in the United States.

Great. But was is M-cat, and why the huge concern?

Mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant, also referred to as the "Ecstasy of the 21st Century"is reportedly manufactured in China. It's in the amphetamine class of drugs, as well as the cathinone class of drugs. Cathinone is a naturally-occurring drug in the khat plant, the leaves of which are often chewed as a recreational drug. The amphetamine class of drugs includes hallucinogens, stimulants, and drugs such as ecstasy, ephedrine, and methamphetamine, also known as "speed." These also occur naturally in the Khat and Ephedra plants, and have had pharmaceutical application for hundreds of years. Synthetic amphetamines first surfaced in 1887, and without knowing exactly what they did, were included in many common "cures" such as decongestants, and mental health remedies. Improperly used, however, they can cause a breakdown of bodily functions and death. As a result, in 1970, the United States adopted the "Controlled Substances Act" that limited the use of amphetamines and other drugs.

The popularity of Mephedrone came on the heels of a diminution of the purity of cocaine and ecstasy, and the relatively low cost of Mephedrone. And while it was of concern when it was legal, it's of even greater concern on the black market. The price has nearly doubled since making it illegal, and the purity is now in question. But what are the effects, and why is ti harmful?

Here's what it does: It elevates your mood. It enhances your appreciation for music. It reduces hostility. It improves your mental function and has a low level of enhanced sexual stimulation. The effects are similar to ecstasy, cocaine, and speed. But, as you might expect, there's another side to the coin. A deadly catch.

Along with all the good stuff, comes the bad. Grinding teeth. Sore nasal passages, mouths and throats. Nose bleeds. Cardiac irregularity. Blurred vision. Hot flashes. Muscle tension in the jaw and face. Discoloration of extremities. Nausea and vomiting. Insomnia. And of course, addiction. Ah, that's the really big one.

Mephedrone is a top seller in the addiction category, and most users report that it's one of the hardest drugs to stop using once they started. The addiction can be physical, psychological, or both. Oh, one more thing. It is a great way to check out. Yes, death is one of the potential side effects; luckily, not everyone dies from it. And while it is fairly clear that mephedrone is a primary cause of death, due to use along with other drugs, the truth is, it's not always conclusive.

The bottom line is: stay away from Mephedrone. It is not a drug you want to toy with, not even once. The ramifications can be fatal. The question is, is it really worth dying for?

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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