Methcathinone is a fairly new drug on the market; it has recently increased in popularity and has become one of the most commonly used illegal drugs in South Africa.
This illegal substance is known amongst it’s users as CAT, but is also referred to as Methedrone, Methcathone, Drone, M-Kat, Ghetto Coke, meow-meow and Star Speed to name a few.
This drug has taken over the methamphetamine market because of how cheaply it can be manufactured and purchased.
The drug is simple and inexpensive cooked up and can be produced using an array of everyday household detergents and products, and can even be manufactured in your home kitchen.
Additional ingredients found being used in the making of the drug are ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (found in some over-the-counter asthma and cold medications), acetone (explosive paint solvent), muriatic acid (used in sandblasting and cleaning mortar off bricks), sulphuric acid (usually purchased from auto supply stores as battery acid), lye (usually in the form of a crystal drain cleaner such as Drano), sodium dichromate or potassium dichromate, sodium hydroxide, toluene (explosive paint thinner).
The most popular way of ingesting methcathinone is by snorting it (nasal inhalation).
Ulterior methods include oral ingestion, by mixing it in a liquid, intravenous injection, and smoking it in either a crack pipe or added to tobacco/marijuana cigarettes.
CAT is often used in binges which can last from two to six days, during which the drug is used constantly.
Prolonged use of CAT produces a variety of problems typical of addiction to powerful stimulant drugs. You may experience paranoia and delusions, hallucinations, including a sensation of bugs crawling under the skin, anxiety followed by depression, tremors and convulsions, anorexia, malnutrition, and weight loss, sweating, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance, stomach pains and nausea, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, and body aches, nose bleeding and eventual destruction of nasal tissues and erosion of the nasal septum.
And if those symptoms aren’t enough the dreaded “come down” or “crash” is inevitable shortly after the usage has come to an end, severe psychological depression and suicide ideation have been noted after a CAT binge.
It has been seen that after just one incident of binging (six to ten days) on methcathinone users start to develop tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.
Although occasional CAT related deaths have been reported in the media, the actual number is far higher, and often involve complications associated with the additional ingredients used to make the drug cheaper.
As a rehabilitation centre we have seen how highly addictive methcathinone is, very similar to crack cocaine and addiction to CAT appears to be as difficult to treat as addiction to crack cocaine.
However it is important to note that nothing is unmanageable or unattainable.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that can be treated, and it is never too late to start. Our drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre is a place where lives change and people grow.
We encourage a holistic type of treatment which enables individuals to befriend themselves and identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in their everyday lives.
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