What are the effects of synthetic cathinones?
Many types of drugs often sold as MDMA are actually synthetic cathinones. Let’s get up to speed.
Synthetic cathinones (also known as bath salts, flakka, meow meow, research chemicals) generally refer to a large group of new psychoactive substances that come as a pill, capsule or whitish powder or crystal. They are generally stimulants, and there is often little evidence about the long-term effects.
It’s safest not to use synthetic cathinones at all – they are unpredictable, dangerous drugs, and should be avoided.
In 2020, we issued a notification for the cathinone N-Ethylheptedrone, detected in New Zealand for the first time. Other types of cathinones found here in recent years include Alpha PVP, N-Ethylpentylone, MDPV, Eutylone and Methylone.
These have been implicated in a number of hospitalisations around the country, most notably in Christchurch in 2018. There has also been at least one fatal incident linked to cathinones in New Zealand, and over 100 in Europe.
What effects do synthetic cathinones have on the body?
Synthetic cathinones are often described as less euphoric, and “speedier”, than the drugs they’re meant to mimic. While the short-term and long-term effects are still unknown, the physical and psychological effects are like other stimulants. This can include:
- Increased energy and alertness
- High blood pressure, rapid heart rate
- Elevated mood, sociability
- Inability for the body to regulate temperature
- Appetite suppression
- Compulsive redosing
- Loss of consciousness
If they are used, it should be done with a great deal of caution.
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