Psychiatrists will today issue a warning over
the dangers of stimulant drug 4-MMC, a so-called “legal high” that
can cause hallucinations and psychosis.
They believe the drug, which has similar
effects to ecstasy and cocaine and is freely available to buy on
the internet in the UK, should be banned. 4-Methylmethcathinone
(4-MMC) was banned in 2008 in Denmark, Finland and Israel.
Psychiatrists Dr Neeraj Bajaj, Dr Donna Mullen
and Dr Scott Wylie, from Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, have carried
out research into the effects of 4-MMC. They will present their
research today at the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of
Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Addictions in Edinburgh.
They report the case of a young professional
man, who had been buying 4-MMC online for 18 months and binging on
the drug twice a week. The man had experienced auditory and visual
hallucinations, as well as agitation, excitability and signs of
mania. He had also become dependent on the drug, and was admitted
to a psychiatric in-patient unit for treatment.
The psychiatrists said: “There are hundreds of
websites, based in the UK and abroad, that are selling these
so-called “legal highs”. It is a poorly regulated industry with
consumers having little knowledge of ingredients or their
“4-MMC has the potential to cause similar
physical and psychiatric complications to illegal drugs. We
therefore think there is an urgent need for government legislation
to reclassify 4-MMC as an illegal substance.”
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Annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Addictions, Edinburgh, 30 April-1 May 2009