What is Cat?
Methcathinone (also known as mephedrone) is classed as a stimulant. It was first synthesised in the USA in 1928, but only patented by Parke-Davis in 1957. During the 1930’s and 1940’s it was used as an antidepressant in the USSR. The original pharmaceutical function was as an antidepressant and weight-loss drug. It was banned in the USSR after World War II. A common street name for methcathinone is ‘Cat’. It is produced in illicit ‘cat labs’, for recreational purposes and part of its popularity is because it is fairly easy to produce and does not require sophisticated equipment to produce it. Cat is not to be confused with the Khat plant, the leaves of which are chewed as a central nervous system stimulant. It is often used as a substitute for other stimulants such as cocaine and ecstasy. Unlike cocaine, the ‘high’ effect can last up to six hours, making it a very popular recreational drug – in fact it is often referred to as “the poor mans’ coke” . It is generally snorted or inhaled but it can also be used intravenously. According to reports there has been an increase in usage within South Africa since 2010. Side-effects include increased blood pressure, an accelerated heart rate as well as a sudden increase in alertness due to the fact that it stimulates the stress hormone, norepinephrine. Other effects include :
Intense feelings of euphoria
Loss of appetite
Feelings of love or empathy towards others
Sociability and talkativeness
Adverse effects may include:
Damage to the nasal cavities
Involuntary teeth grinding
Loss of appetite
Liver, kidney, lung and cardiovascular damage with prolonged use
The loss of the ability to make rational decisions
Studies have linked the use of cat to higher risks of stroke and heart failure. It is particularly dangerous to those who suffer from existing heart problems. Overdose can occur with any quantity of drug used, and the user is always at risk.
Withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of cocaine, lasting from two to three weeks or longer depending on the extent of use. Symptoms include:
Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
Agitation and aggression
If you or a loved one is in search of help for addiction to cat, know that help is readily available. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll support you in your journey.
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