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A Party Worth Remembering

iStockphoto / dwphotos

iStockphoto / dwphotos

By By Craig Motbey

Euphoric and highly addictive, a popular party drug also causes long-term memory loss.

Craig Motbey is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

A popular new “party” drug has been attracting some attention lately. You may know it as Drone, M-Cat, Bubbles or Meow. The pharmaceutical name is mephedrone, and its impact is something like a mix between ecstasy and cocaine or methamphetamine.

We’ve been studying it to see what the long-term effects of use might be. The early signs are that, although not up there with the worst of the worst, mephedrone is by no means benign. It appears to be highly addictive and evidence is beginning to mount that it may cause substantial damage to memory.

Unfortunately, by the time we get mephedrone all worked out, another dozen new party drugs will be doing the rounds in its place.

Mephedrone is a part of a family of drugs called cathinones. Human use of cathinones for their psychoactive properties traces back to prehistory. Known as “khat” by the people of eastern Africa, the leaves and twigs of the Catha edulis shrub have been chewed for centuries in traditional cultures.

The effects could be described as somewhere between a serious coffee habit and mild amphetamine use. This is un­surprising to chemists because the cathinone and amphetamine molecules are almost identical. Although not entirely free of negative consequences, traditionally managed khat chewing has a relatively mild impact on most users.

However, one cathinone in particular has...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.