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article imageNew designer drug hits UK dance floors

By Tim Sandle     Jan 26, 2012 in Health
London - The latest drug, popular with some clubbers in the UK, is Roflcoptr. Strange name indeed. This Digital Journal expose reveals more about this latest "club drug."
Drugs and dance music have had an unfortunate association since the rave scene in the 1990s. This era began with the ecstasy pills (or entactogenic drugs) and has continued through the widespread use of substances like ketamine (an anesthetic associated with veterinary medicine which entered the recreational drug scene and has mesmeric effects according to the journal of Psychiatric Medicine); meow-meow (a slang-term for the chemical mephedrone, which The Daily Mail reports there has been a link with suicides on the part of users), and MDMA (a psychoactive drug based on methamphetamine and similar to ectacy).
Now the dance music site BangStyle has reported on a new recreational drug popular with club goers in the bug cities like London and Manchester.
The new ‘rave drug’ is called Roflcoptr, which is a street-speak acronym for “Roll On the Floor Laughing Crapping Our Pants Totally Ruined”. An alternative name is “mket” (which is a truncation of the full chemical name, as described below). Like other drugs linked to electronica and other forms of club / dance music, the physiological affect is to produce a state of euphoria and sometimes have hallucinogenic properties.
The basis of the new substance is the chemical methoxetamine (and which has a very long chemical name: 2-(3-methoxyphenyl)-2-(ethylamino)cyclohexanone). The chemical takes the form of a white powder. The user snorts the powder.
The drug is relatively new as a readily available substance. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, which compiles reports on legal and illegal drugs, first reported the drug in November 2010.
As a chemical, methoxetamine is linked to a class of anesthetics which explains the relaxed-state in which the user enters on taking the drug.
A quick run through on Google indicates that the drug appears widely available on-line (I located at least ten sites), in addition to being available in clubs. The price varies, although the typical range appears to be between 145–195 euros (or $190 to $255) for 10 grams. Whilst the drug is not illegal, it is illegal to advertise them as safe for people to take (in the UK, for example, this is covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act). Some of the Internet sites I checked out had the statement “methoxetamine is not for human consumption”. However, the layout of the sites strongly suggested that the drug is linked to euphoria and clubbing. As so not to give these sites any undeserved publicity I have not linked to them, although they are easily identifiable via Internet search engines.
The drug is readily available because it does not appear on a list of banned substances. It is a so-termed “legal high”. One trend with legal highs is that the drugs frequently change as the dealers find new and imaginative ways to get around any bans and to aggressively market the substances. Hence the term ‘designer drugs’: created (or marketed, if they had already existed) to get around existing drug laws, usually by modifying the molecular structures of existing drugs to varying degrees. A recent article in the Digital Journal examined a similar type of dubious drug which has been banned in Nevada.
Although Roflcoptr and its chemical composite methoxetamine are not illegal within Europe, there have been growing concerns about the physiological effects of the drug upon users. A recent scientific paper in the journal Clinical Toxicology noted the risk of acute poisoning and risks of ill health in relation to taking methoxetamine. The New Musical Express quotes Dr Valerie Curran, a psychopharmacolgist at University College London, as stating: “people are playing Russian roulette when they take something like this, because there's been no research on its effects."
In terms of the physiological effects of club drugs in general, the U.S. agency, the National Institute of Drug Abuse lists the undesirable effects as: withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. It is likely that Roflcoptr falls into similar risk classes and represents another worrying development in drug culture.
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