Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have completed one of the first studies of mephedrone use in Northern Ireland since the drug was outlawed earlier this year. They found that the ban did not deter those mephedrone users surveyed from taking the substance.
Interviews with 23 mephedrone users were completed during a two-month period (May and June 2010) following the legislation that made the drug illegal in the UK. Study participants were aged 19 to 51 years, around half of whom (12) were female. 19 of the 23 people who took part in the study were employed, and most occupations were affiliated with business, trades, the service industry or the public sector.
The research was led by Dr Karen McElrath at Queen's School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.
The key findings from the study were:
21 of the 23 study participants had used mephedrone after the ban.
Only one person was very much opposed to using the substance again.
Approximately half the sample preferred mephedrone to cocaine or ecstasy. Some had experienced negative effects, for example, sleeplessness, difficult comedowns and next-day depression, but these factors generally did not deter them from using the substance again.
None of those who took part in the research felt that 'legal highs' were safe simply because they were legal.
None of the study participants recalled an initial interest in using mephedrone because it had been legal. Rather, its legality before April 2010 meant that it was easier to access and cheaper than many illegal substances.
Prior to the ban, only three interviewees had purchased mephedrone from 'head shops' and four interviewees had purchased mephedrone from online suppliers.
The majority tended to access mephedrone through friends or dealers.
The majority of interviewees had prior experience of taking ecstasy, amphetamine or cocaine.
During their most recent use of mephedrone, all the study participants had also consumed alcohol, although the timing and amount of alcohol varied.
During their most recent use of mephedrone, six of the 23 participants had used another psychoactive substance, other than alcohol.
During their most recent use of mephedrone, most participants had consumed between one-two grams of the drug, although half recalled bingeing on mephedrone, sharing upward of seven-eight grams with two to three other people.
Dr McElrath said: "This is one of the first studies into mephedrone use in Northern Ireland since it was made illegal earlier this year. The findings suggest that the ban did not have a significant impact on those who already used mephedrone, at least during the two-month period that followed the ban. We are keen to develop this research further and to compare our results with a similar study conducted in Waterford prior to the ban on mephedrone in the Republic of Ireland in May 2010."
The study was part of a cross-border research partnership with Marie Clare Van Hout at the Waterford Institute of Technology.
Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen's Press and PR Unit on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 or +44 (0)7814415451 or email@example.com
Notes to editors:
1. Dr Karen McElrath is available for interview.
2. Mephedrone was made illegal in the UK in April 2010, and in the Republic of Ireland in May 2010.
3. For more information about Marie Clare Van Hout's research in the Republic of Ireland, contact 00353 872375979.
Anne-Marie Clarke | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine