International media have been reporting about fatalities allegedly related to mephedrone, a popular recreational stimulant, but now a proportion of them have been confirmed. We aimed here at analyzing information relating to the circumstances of mephedrone-related deaths in the United Kingdom.
Descriptive analysis of information was mainly extracted from the UK National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths database. With an average annual response rate of 95%, UK National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths receives information from coroners on drug-related deaths among both addicts and nonaddicts in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.
So far, 128 alleged mephedrone-associated fatalities have been reported; mephedrone was identified at postmortem in 90 cases; inquests have been concluded in 69 cases, 62 of which are analyzed here. Typical mephedrone victims were young (mean age, 28.8 years), male, and with a previous history of drug misuse. There was a notable number (18 cases [29%], 11 being from hanging) of deaths involving self-harm. Mephedrone alone was identified at postmortem on 8 occasions (13% of the inquests’ sample).
Present mortality data may suggest a significant level of caution when ingesting mephedrone. Limitations include an inability to determine the exact extent of risks associated with mephedrone consumption.