Alere is now Abbott



Mephedrone belongs to a group of synthetic substances that are chemically similar to naturally occurring cathinone (a compound found in the leaves of the Khat plant) and the synthetic drug group amphetamines.

Originally synthesised in 1929 the compound remained an obscure product of academia until it was ‘re-discovered’ and publicised by an underground chemist working in Israel. It appeared on the market in 2007, and between the summer of 2009 and March 2010, the use of mephedrone as a recreational drug grew rapidly in the UK. It was used as a legal alternative to cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA) and amphetamine, as it was found to produce similar experiences, until it became an illegal drug on the 16th April 2010.

Mephedrone is a white, off-white or yellowish powder which is usually snorted, but can also be swallowed in bombs (wraps of paper) and may also appear in pill or capsule form. There are reports that more people are injecting mephedrone.



Swallowed in bombs (wraps of paper), pills or capsules.



Prepared as a solution for injecting.



Divided into lines and snorted up the nose.

  • Central nervous stimulant
  • Euphoria
  • Hyperactivity
  • Similar to cocaine and ecstasy
  • Blue or cold fingers (changes to circulation)


  • Affects the nasal passages, throat and mouth, causing soreness, cuts and chemical burns


  • Overdose
  • Damage to veins and arteries
  • Ulceration and gangrene
  • Blood borne viruses through sharing needles
Mephedrone packet and powder


Molecular structure of mephedrone

Street Names

meow meow, MCAT, bubble, meph, drone, miaow, subcoca-1, white magic, 4-MMC, MC, m-smack, bounce, charge

Legal Status

Class B Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to five years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to 14 years in jail, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.