Mass-information : Mephedrone, myths, and the new generation of legal highs
The market in licit recreational drugs is continuing to grow, both in the UK and elsewhere, and the internet has been acknowledged as a key factor in enabling this rapid expansion over the last few years. This is particularly true of the recent rise in popularity of the substance mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) and related cathinones. Keeping up to date with these new drugs and emerging trends is a challenge for both professionals and users, particularly given the relative paucity of balanced and reliable information available and the potential for misinformation to be widely disseminated. This article examines the transmission of inaccurate information in relation to mephedrone and substituted cathinones, and discusses the implication of this for harm reduction and future research, by looking at the results of the European Commission funded Psychonaut Web Mapping project, which used online resources to detect emerging trends, monitor their diffusion, and develop a reasonably accurate profile of these new psychoactive compounds.