4-methylmethcathinone, Meph, meow, miaow-miaow, m-cat, plant food, drone, bubbles, kitty cat

Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a synthetic cathinone which is closely related chemically to amphetamines. It is a stimulant which was originally marketed as plant fertiliser. 

Bag of white powder sitting on black background

Synthetic cathinones are closely related to the phenethylamine family and typically have an amphetamine-type analogue. Examples of synthetic cathinones in Australia include Mephedrone (‘Meow Meow’, ‘M-CAT’); Methylone; MDPV (‘Ivory wave’); alpha-PVP (‘flakka’). 

Synthetic cathinones first appeared in drug markets in the mid-2000s, with methylone the first to be reported. Mephedrone is perhaps the most well-known of the synthetic cathinones — it first appeared online as an NPS between 2007 and 2009 (although reported to have first been synthesised in 1929). Mephedrone became increasingly common in Europe; however, it never gained much prominence in Australia.

Mephedrone is mostly available in powder form, although it can also be pressed into pill form, and is usually snorted or ingested. Research suggests that some of the health risks associated with the use of synthetic cathinones may include: 

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • chest pain
  • abnormal sensation, typically tingling or prickling of the skin (paraesthesia) 
  • heart palpitations 
  • seizures 
  • abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) 
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • dependence. 

For more information about synthetic cathinones and other synthetic drugs, see New and emerging psychoactive substances.