Mephedrone, Methadone & Notes on Psychedelic Confusion.

Today Ravelrie, Stay Safe Seattle & NY DanceSafe are talking Mephedrone & the modern era of drug confusion. After hearing people confuse mephedrone & methadone for the hundredth time, we decided to parse some bullshit & get the info out to everyone who is looking real dumb at parties talking about the wrong drug. The easiest way to remember the difference between the two is to look at the end of the word. MethaDONE is for trying to quit heroin or pain killers, while MepheDRONE is the first gen bath salt rumored to turn you into a mindless crazy person. So, think “DONE” for “done with opiates” & DRONE for “face eating zombie.”MeowFF graphic More specifically, Mephedrone is the thing your mom got terrified you were doing after the tragic/morbidly hilarious face eating incident in Miami. While it was later proven that the guy didn’t actually have any “bath salts” in his system, the moniker stuck and now we’ve got terrible rumors of how bath salts turn into cannibals. The substance was stupendously popular in the UK from 2010/2011, with an almost total drop off from 2012/2013 on. One note, the only reason they’re called “bath salts” is because labeling them as “not for human consumption” is what allowed headshops to sell these drugs “over the counter” because they were going to be used as incense, not ground up & snorted. For more information on this legal, then terrifying, then banned, then internationally scheduled substance, The Guardian has a fantastic timeline/information vault about the drug.

Mephedrone is a great example of how a substance using population will react to changing conditions on the ground. As the purity of MDMA weakened in the late 00’s/early 10’s in the UK, more and more people switched to legal highs such as Mephedrone. So many did, that an entire ad campaign reminding people they were new psychedelic substances (NPS) was launched, including the first image in this post & others like it. As the purity of MDMA climbed back into acceptable ranges, fewer & fewer people were willing to keep beta testing the drug with their bodies. While the international community finally got around to scheduling the drug this month, some of us asked a. What took them so long, and b. Why now? The drug isn’t cool/used heavily anymore, so what’s the point?

Methadone is the standard treatment opiate (heroin, morphine, Vicodin, etc) users receive, usually after they’ve been processed by the mental health, substance abuse or law enforcement systems. Methadone essentially just replaces heroin with a drug that prevents physical withdrawal, but does nothing for the user, from a mood, pain-killing or recreational perspective. A long-winded explanation of why Methadone is the worst way to treat opiate addiction is beyond the scope of this post, as you’re already getting bored reading this I wager. But for a great write-up of what the process looks like, especially in poor areas of the world, read this VICE report from Saskatchewan, and not the nice part. This is one of the many ground zeros for drugs, crime & gang violence in the world, with heroin & methadone intertwined deeply.

Now that you know the difference, use #meowFF to join the chat this afternoon, 4:30pm EST, 1:30pm PST on Twitter!

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Kratom, Stimulants & Withdrawal: A Developing Story

This week, for #DFF we’re talking Kratom! You’ve probably not heard of it, but if you have, we’d love to hear from you! Ravelrie, NY DanceSafe & Stay Safe Seattle are joining me to talk about a substance that has both a long history and an entirely new global fanbase. In many places, like the USA, it’s actually still legal, though, as we’ve seen with a lot of gray-area drugs, that may not be the case for long.IMG_1784This drug has the very interesting side effect of essentially replacing methadone for opiate withdrawal. This is something that took me both a review of the research (summed up nicely in this Scientific American article) and a lengthy stay in r/kratom (that’s right, there’s a reddit community about it) to really believe. One of the differences between the article and the concreteness of the sub-reddit is immediately obvious. While the scientists are speculating and wondering about the effectiveness of the drug, there’s an entire underground of people already using it. Not only are they using it the way it’s traditionally used in Thailand, as the organic/natural analog to methamphetamine, similar to Khat & coca leaves in Africa & Latin America (respectively). But it also provides a much smoother withdrawal than when you try and stop using opiates. The only other drug I’ve ever encountered in my research that does this is Ibogaine, but that is a story for another day. This substance apparently replaces the opiate/pain medication usage, but when users try to quit this…they feel like they’ve got a caffeine headache.

The significantly reduced physical dependency potential & softer withdrawal symptoms have gotten people to use it to do what methodone, Narcotics Anonymous & a lifetime of DARE commercials couldn’t. Get them off drugs. Some succeed, a bunch fail, but in this case, they’ve got a leg-up, as dealing with caffeine withdrawal is a zillion (yea that’s a scientific term sure) times easier than weaning yourself off heroin. As any fan of Trainspotting could tell you. The drug isn’t actually scheduled in the USA, but the DEA is watching it like a hawk. There’s a chance that it could be used to help people, but I assume the usual suspects will shit all over that, but the fact that the community exists, is global, and has helped (admittedly self-report & confirmation bias not-withstanding) a lot of people, means there might be something here. Join us on Twitter at 4:30pm to help us figure it out.