EDRS Bulletin December 2010: Mephedrone use among regular ecstasy consumers in Australia

Key findings

  • There are indications for an increase in the prevalence in the use of mephedrone in recent years, particularly in the UK, Europe and Australia.
  • One-fifth (21%) of the 2010 national REU sample reported lifetime use of mephedrone and 17% reported use of mephedrone in the six months preceding the interview.
  • Mephedrone was typically swallowed or snorted on a median frequency of 3 days or approximately once every two months.
  • Use of mephedrone was most common in particular jurisdictions such as Tasmania (47%) and Victoria (28%) followed by Western Australia (16%) and Queensland (13%).
  • There were no differences between those who had or had not used mephedrone on a range of variables. However, regular ecstasy users who reported recent use of mephedrone were typically younger and were more likely to report recent use of hallucinogens, ketamine and amyl nitrate/nitrous oxide than those who had not used mephedrone. They were also more likely to report frequent and extended use of stimulants in the last six months. In terms of risk behaviours they were more likely to report recent unprotected sex with a casual partner and were more likely to report committing a crime in the last month.
  • Given the recent increase in the use and availability of mephedrone in Australia, it is important that health workers in this area to be familiar with this drug and its effects and that users of the drug receive credible and timely harm reduction messages.
  • The present research highlights the utility of the EDRS in identifying and monitoring emerging trends in illicit drug markets and its role as an early warning system.

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