Alpha-PVP and mephedrone are dangerous synthetic drugs that are addictive. In this article, we show the difference between them and explain why long-term use leads to severe consequences. What is the difference between mephedrone and other cathinones?
Form of production and general information
Mephedrone is a synthetic psychostimulant, an analogue of amphetamine. It became popular in 2008, before that year it was sold as ecstasy. It is produced in China and Kenya. The street names of mephedrone are: meow, Cristalius, cat piss, mad cow, M-Cat. The drug looks like crystals and resembles table salt. The drug can also be sold as tablets and injectable solutions.
Alpha-PVP (A-pyrrolidinopentiophenone) is a synthetic psychostimulant that belongs to the same class as mephedrone. Its street names are flakka, salts, speeds, and crystals. The largest quantities are produced in China. They look like kitchen salt, that is why for hidden sales they can be sold as bath salts.
Very often in the so-called “coming-out” there is an irresistible sexual desire, users have promiscuous unprotected sexual contacts, which is fraught with various sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. At such moments the irresistible desire for sex prevails over reason, and no one thinks about protection.
The difference in effects and effects on the body
Mephedrone is a substance that stimulates the central nervous system. There is a space between the nerve cells in the brain – the synaptic gap. In this gap there is “communication” between neurons: one cell transmits a chemical signal to the other. These signals are transmitted by proteins – neurotransmitters. In the central nervous system each neurotransmitter molecule is controlled – extra molecules are removed from the synaptic gap with the help of enzymes.
The physiological effects of mephedrone are similar to those of some antidepressants: mephedrone blocks the enzymes that clear the synaptic cleft of serotonin residues, a neurotransmitter from the monoamine group. An excess of serotonin and other neurotransmitters appears in the synaptic gap – physiological and psychological effects develop:
- Euphoria is an elevated mood, a feeling of serenity, joy and happiness, a feeling of closeness to other people, and lightness in the whole body;
- Ease of making new contacts and communicating;
- Focus increases, memory capacity increases;
- Thinking becomes rapid but unproductive;
- Sounds and colors become brighter and more intense;
- Tactile sensations become pleasant;
- Decreased appetite;
- Decreased need for sleep;
- Increased sex drive;
- Desire to be the center of attention.
However, the activation of the sympathetic nervous system leads to unpleasant effects:
- Heart palpitations;
- Dry mouth, burning nose.
Mephedrone starts to work 45 minutes after use, in some people it takes only 2 hours. The effects last from 2 to 4 hours.
Alpha-PVP also belongs to the class of nervous system stimulants. The mechanism of action is similar to mephedrone, but instead of increasing the amount of serotonin in the synaptic gap, more dopamine and norepinephrine become present. This develops effects such as:
- Strengthening of concentration, acceleration of tempo of thinking and associative connections;
- Increased motivation, prompting to action;
- Ease of establishing new social contacts and communication;
- Reduced need for sleep;
The difference between mephedrone and alpha-PVP is that the former is more likely to stimulate social activity and increase mood. A person becomes more open, sociable and friendly, while the second drug is designed to motivate and stimulate to action. That is why alpha-PVP is a pure psychostimulant, and mephedrone is a stimulant with an empathogenic effect that creates a sense of intimacy.
The effects of using alpha-PVP take an average of 30 to 45 minutes and last up to two hours. The effects begin to subside 3-4 hours after use, and disappear completely after 7 hours.
Harms and complications of taking drugs
The effects of drug use depend largely on a person’s mood, physiological reactions, and peculiarities of the psyche. For example, when using mephedrone, a “bad trip” can occur – an unpredictable scenario in which more unwanted effects with symptoms of severe intoxication and psychotic conditions are manifested:
- Delusions of persecution, unpleasant hallucinations;
- Disturbance of consciousness;
- Complete lack of appetite;
- Severe dizziness;
- Muscle and joint pain;
- Excessive sweating;
- Severe headaches.
The danger of mephedrone is that one small dose is enough to cause severe symptoms. Long-term use of the drug leads to long-term consequences:
- Heart rhythm is impaired;
- Visual acuity decreases;
- Blood pressure becomes consistently high;
- Depression, suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior.
In addition, long-term use of mephedrone can provoke psychiatric pathologies: psychosomatic disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, anxiety disorder, paranoid reactions, psychomotor agitation. Such disorders usually occur in people who have previously had craniocerebral injuries, severe infectious diseases, alcohol intoxication, trauma and surgery under anesthesia. The most adverse consequence is genotoxicity: children of drug addicts are born with birth defects and developmental abnormalities.
Alpha-PVP is a more toxic substance than mephedrone. Complications of the drug:
- Cardiac rhythm disturbance;
- Psychomotor agitation and severe anxiety;
- Visual hallucinations;
- Delirium of persecution;
- Epileptic seizures;
- Heavy perspiration;
- Impaired speech;
- Impaired consciousness.
Alpha-PVP can lead to severe somatic disorders: acute organ failure (multiple organ failure syndrome), liver failure, brain hemorrhage, brain edema, and myocardial infarction. All this can lead to death. In addition, a person under the influence of salts may commit suicide.
The Difference Between Mephedrone
Mephedrone is most often taken in the form of powder and pills, but drug addicts can also wrap the drug in special cigarette paper and smoke it. There are also other routes of administration: snorting, intravenous or intramuscular injections.
Alpha-PVP is produced in the form of powder, pills, capsules, chewing gum, and e-cigarette liquids. Most often, people take mephedrone in the form of pills or by snorting. To speed up the “binge”, several methods of administration are used simultaneously, such as taking a tablet and putting the powder under the tongue.
First aid in case of an overdose
Improper use of mephedrone and salts can lead to acute intoxication and death. If your loved one has overdosed on mephedrone or alpha-PVP, follow these steps:
- Call an ambulance;
- Stay safe: remove broken bottle splinters, needles, and away from edge of road;
- Put the patient in a half sitting position and get some fresh air: open a window, take off a tie or scarf, unbutton your shirt.
- If possible, take blood pressure and body temperature.
If the patient has a fever of 39-40 0C, use physical methods of cooling: wipe your face and body with cool water. The best way is to wipe your neck, forehead, and wrists. A cold compress may be placed on the legs.
If the person has cramps, make sure there is space so the person does not hurt himself or hurt himself during the cramping. Put a pillow or other soft object under the head. Do not hold the person during the convulsion, put any object in his jaw, or hold his tongue. The most you can do is turn the person on his side.
When the ambulance arrives, explain the situation to the doctors: tell them what drug the patient took, how long ago the signs of intoxication appeared, what the body temperature and blood pressure were.
Mephedrone and alpha-PVP are synthetic psychostimulants that increase mood, stimulate activity, enhance attention and concentration. They have a similar mechanism of action. Drugs are addictive and have consequences: heart failure, arterial hypertension, anxiety disorder, neurosis, and often death.