(NaturalNews) It provides hallucinogenic feelings of euphoria similar to cocaine, methamphetamines and ecstasy, and has become a popular new recreational drug on the party scene because it is not technically illegal. The drug is mephedrone, also known as "plant food" because it is the same ingredient used in the little plant food packets that come with flower bouquets, and it is highly deadly.
Recently, two young men from Raleigh, N.C., died from what appeared to be an overdose of mephedrone. The drug, which is typically made in China and exported to the U.K. and Austria where it is legally sold online to people around the world, is not regulated. So practically anyone can purchase it, which is causing an increase in serious injuries and deaths.
According to a report in The Guardian back in 2009, the emergence of drugs like mephedrone that are chemically similar to legal substances are on the rise because they bypass drug laws while providing similar effects. And young people think they are safer because they are legal, even though they can be just as harmful and deadly is illegal narcotics.
"They cause effects pretty much like the drugs they are derived from," explained Dr. John Ramsey, a toxicologist at St. George's University of London, to The Guardian. "Their acute effects are pretty much indistinguishable from MDMA (ecstasy) and amphetamines."
As far as mephedrone is concerned, the fact that it is inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk makes it even more of a threat, as unwary users are much more likely to overdose on it. Especially with a harmless-sounding name like "plant food", young users often have no idea what they are getting themselves into.
"There will always be something on the horizon that is falling outside the legislation," added Ramsey. "The law cannot keep up with what is happening on the street. What we need to do is to explain to users the potential risks they are running."