Fatalities Associated with Mephedrone in Combination with Other Stimulant Drugs in Young People Aged 16-24 Years
Gimeno Clemente, Carla
Introduction: Mephedrone is a stimulant Class B drug chemically related to amphetamine. It comes in tablet or powder form and has no therapeutic use. Mephedrone’s reported effects are similar to those of amphetamine and cocaine, and is often used by young people in combination with other stimulants. The aim of this study is to analyse fatalities following ingestion of mephedrone occurring in the UK among 16-24 year olds. Methods: A literature review using the Medline database and Google Scholar was undertaken. Analyses were performed using data extracted from the database of the national programme on Substance Abuse Deaths, which collects notifications of drug-related deaths occurring in the UK and Islands, submitted voluntarily by Coroners and other data providers. A search of the entire database was performed for deaths involving mephedrone. Socio-demographic characteristics of decedents, together with post mortem toxicology and cause of death information were examined. Results: As of 26th April 2013, 41 cases aged 16-24 years were found with mephedrone at post mortem, consisting of 33 males and eight females. Mephedrone alone or in combination with other drugs was implicated in 25 deaths: of these it was implicated alone in 12 deaths and in combination in 13, with eight of the latter involving stimulants. Conclusions: The mephedrone-related fatalities among young people reported here suggest that a significant level of caution is needed when ingesting mephedrone, alone or in combination with other drugs, especially stimulants.