The Pleasures and Pains of Mephedrone Use: Perceptions of Users and Practitioners

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Aim: There is no shortage of information on the potential consequences of consuming mephedrone. However, these assessments relate primarily to the physical and psychological effects of the drug. Less attention is paid to the social harms to the user or broader society. The aim of this paper is to investigate the physical, psychological and social harms and benefits of mephedrone use as perceived by users and practitioners.

Methods: The findings reported here are based on: (1) semi-structured interviews with 12 mephedrone users and (2) semi-structured interviews with 20 practitioners.

Findings: The most common perceived benefits of mephedrone consumption were the intensity of the “high”, feelings of happiness, enhanced confidence and its ability to suppress negative feelings associated with a range of problems. Its social benefits mainly concerned enhancing social skills (e.g. enabling conversation) and helping to make friends. The most frequently mentioned harms were physical disorders, such as the negative effects of snorting on nose tissues and injecting on the skin and veins, as well as psychological harms, such as depression, paranoia, hallucinations and sleep disorders. The main social problems were the effects of mephedrone use on family life, employment, finances and involvement in acquisitive and violent crime.

Conclusions: Future research should continue to explore the full range of positive and negative effects of mephedrone use on users and those close to them to establish a solid evidence base from which to inform treatment and prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalDrugs: Eduction, prevention and policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2016


  • Mephedrone
  • harms
  • prevention


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