Letters Mephedrone

Banned but still available on the internet

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1629 (Published 15 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1629
  1. Giorgia De Paoli, lecturer in forensic toxicology1,
  2. Simon D Brandt, senior lecturer in analytical chemistry2,
  3. Derrick J Pounder, professor1
  1. 1University of Dundee, Centre for Forensic and Legal Medicine, Dundee, UK
  2. 2School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
  1. g.depaoli{at}dundee.ac.uk

Before April 2010, when mephedrone became a class B substance in the UK, the drug was sold lawfully online, either using its correct name or under fantasy names that did not specify its presence.1

A recent study has reported the results of an online survey of UK mephedrone users,2 carried out in June 2010, two months after the drug was banned.3 Of the 150 respondents, 95 admitted to using mephedrone after the law had changed, but now sourced it from local dealers rather than the internet, which they had used before.

The impression given, that mephedrone is no longer available on the internet, is incorrect. Most of these products disappeared from the internet after April 2010, but one product called “green granules” is still sold online. In May and early December 2010 we purchased green granules and a new product called “jelly bomb caps”—capsules filled with green granules.4 Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and high performance liquid chromatography confirmed that mephedrone is the only active component of both products.

Mephedrone is still widely available in the UK, not only through street dealers but also through the internet market, which remains effectively uncontrolled.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1629


  • Competing interests: None declared.