Every so often the drug scene goes through paradigm shifts. Usually these are heralded by the arrival of a new drug or a new version of an established drug. So in the 1980s, it was smokeable heroin and cocaine, while in the 1990s it was ecstasy. Arguably though, it was technology – the internet and email – that has enabled the global rise in NPS and changed the game, maybe forever. New technology had allowed for world-wide information exchange, the search for patents from which to develop new drugs and wholesale and retail supply, marketing, distribution and purchase. For the UK, the whole phenomenon exploded into the headlines with the revelation that a powerful stimulant called mephedrone – later dubbed by the tabloids ‘miaow miaow’ – was legally available. Druglink published one of the first articles on the drug in March 2009, written by freelance journalist Mike Power.
Mephedrone: the future of drug dealing by Mike Power (PDF)
Chemists are staying one step ahead of drug laws by toying with the chemical make-up of illegal stimulants such as ecstasy, speed and crystal meth to make an increasingly popular range of legal highs. Mike Power reports on the substances that look set to change the way drugs are bought and sold.