Methylone: Proof The Market Decides, Not The Legality

c/o New York DanceSafe

c/o New York DanceSafe

by Terry Gotham

Continuing the series on “things your dealer cuts your drugs with,” this week I’m talking about Methylone. We’re a couple of years out from peak Methylone (circa 2012), but it’s still popping up in MDMA & Molly across the US, the UK & Australia/NZ. We live in the digital age now, so instead of people being busted for selling it in the club, we’ve got dealers getting pinched for buying it online. Including one who was indicted for murder because a kid died after taking it.

I wanted to use it as a quick case study on how little recreational drug users care about scheduling & legality. There are enough years of data on Methylone vs. MDMA to get a sense of the last couple of years & Stay Safe Seattle has done some anecdotal research which provides a neat explanation of what’s been going on. For more formal information on Methylone, check out this doc by the UNODC (United Nations Office On Drugs & Crime).

Graph c/o Stay Safe Seattle.

Graph c/o Stay Safe Seattle.

The ravers, burners or club kids who have consistently rolled since the economic crash of 2008, you may remember the MDMA shortages that plagued the first term of Obama’s presidency. Because of the lack of viable sources for many people, dealers began cutting their MDMA with Methylone & other legal highs.

Cutting pressed pills or baggies of “Molly” isn’t anything new. But instead of cutting them with Stacker 2, Dexetrim, pseudoephedrine & other grey market stimulants, dealers began adding “legal highs” to the stuff to ensure people still had an oxytocin-filled good time.

c/o New York DanceSafe

c/o New York DanceSafe (Yes, this was a legit info sheet)

This stuff was legal for years, but it definitely isn’t harmless. It’s been implicated in the deaths of a number of people, notably three young people in Florida back in 2012. Remember those two kids who died at Electric Zoo in 2013? One of them had taken Methylone instead of MDMA. Granted, the dehydration/heatstroke was the exacerbating factor in their deaths, but let’s be real about the fact that they probably didn’t know what they were getting.

Of course, there are a subset of recreational drug users who enjoy Methylone & would prefer to take it, even if they had access to MDMA. Unlike other legal highs, Methylone has developed a following across the Western world. The shorter duration, the lack of cardiovascular stimulation, reported empathogenic effects and dose control are preferred to the dice some roll when it come to pills (That pun was awful). Though, when purity of MDMA tablets rose & it was more easily found in a lot of areas, rates of Methylone consumption plummeted, as the graph above illustrates.

At the end of the day, I want to emphasize (like I always do), that the problem is that people don’t have access to the drug that provide the experiences they want to have. When they can’t get what they want, they’ll start looking for a proxy substance that can provide a similar, if not exact array of symptoms.  Of course, there are plenty of people who took the drug, found out they liked it, and were able to correctly disentangle the MDMA experience from the Methylone experience. But that takes time, effort, access to vaguely pure substances and honest dealers. If you’re showing up at a party and you’ve never taken either of these before, you won’t be able to tell the difference, as you have no point of reference.

The drug war forces people to make these choices, simply because they can’t get what they want. Instead of requiring humans to play street chemist & behaviorist, let people do what they want. Legalize, regulate, require branding to disclose ingredients & allow users to discuss effects with their doctor. As opposed to Lupo their street pharmacist telling them how dope the new Molly is & how it’ll have them hugging their friends and grinding their teeth by the time that new Axwell & Ingrosso track hits the deck.

I’ll leave you with this quote from a Playboy in 2013 that documented just how bad it had gotten in Miami:

“According to the Miami Police Department, methylone and mephedrone, along with another synthetic cathinone called 4-MEC, account for the vast bulk of the molly seized by narcotics cops in the area. A DEA spokesperson told me that in the first six months of 2013, the DEA’s Miami field office seized 106 consignments of molly, which contained 43 different substances, 19 of them so obscure even government chemists couldn’t identify them. So much for purity.”

Test your shit folks. Know your source, know your set/setting & do your research before setting off on a new adventure. Tally ho into the wilderness, but we want y’all to come back safe & sound with stars in your eyes. To talk more about this, join me, Ravelrie, NY DanceSafe & Stay Safe Seattle on Twitter at 1:30p PST using the hashtag #M1FF on Friday, Sept. 18th.

Global Drug Survey 2015 Results

The Global Drug Survey 2015 is the biggest survey of drug use ever conducted, with results from 102,462 people in over 50 countries.

And the winners are:

Image: The Independent/Global  Drug Survey 2015

Image: The Independent/Global
Drug Survey 2015

The previous year’s results (2013) were based on a sample size of 78,819:


Previous Year’s results, 2013

LSD, Amphetamine, and Cocaine use have all dropped. MDMA and Ketamine are about the same. Weed has grown from 48.2% to 55%, perhaps because of the major public moves towards decriminalization and legalization of marijuana all around the world and the accompanying boom in “good news stories” about positive medical benefits.

Research chemicals may be increasing in popularity in the US EDM scene, but the survey shows their use is declining around the world – except maybe in Poland.

Research Chemical Use, 2014



This year’s results show that the closure of Silk Road in 2013 did nothing to stop drug sales on the Darknet – in fact, quite the opposite. More than a quarter of respondents bought drugs for the first time online in 2014.

Image: The Guardian/Global Drug Survey

Image: The Guardian/Global Drug Survey


The Global Drug Survey has been tracking the rise of e-commerce for drugs for some time now.

British addictions psychiatrist and survey founder Dr Adam Winstock said the safety and quality online drug stores provide is also attractive to buyers.

“Buying things online gives you product range,” he said.

“I think there is an opportunity of getting improved quality. I think some people would perceive it as safer and certainly a lot of people say it’s safer to buy drugs online. There’s less risk of, you know, getting involved in face to face dealing.”

Dr Winstock said while the shift to online may attract new buyers, it is mostly existing dealers making the move at present.

“What we’re seeing is simply a displacement of people who would otherwise buy drugs on the street,” he said. [Source]




2015 how-has-accessing-drugs-via-the-darknet-affected-the-drugs-you-use

Molly and acid were particularly popular for online shoppers.





Buying drugs anonymously over the Internet is much less likely to lead to violence and threats than buying them in person from criminals. The downside is, you may send the money but the product never shows. If it does arrive, you are much more likely to get what you paid for.

Screenshot 2015-06-10 02.37.05





For the first time, the Global Drug Survey compiled a “Net Pleasure Index” from more than 22,000 respondents.

Image: Global Drug Survey 2015

Image: Global Drug Survey 2015

One somewhat surprising finding of the survey was that Hippie Crack aka Nitrous Oxide is the second most popular drug in the UK.

Police intervention was one of the least likely reasons to make someone stop taking drugs.

People who stopped using illicit drugs tended to give responses suggesting they had grown out of using them: 38% of cannabis and cocaine users; and 42% of MDMA users said they made no conscious decision to stop and that “it just happened”. Common responses included “I do not like the effects anymore” and “using it doesn’t fit with my lifestyle anymore”.

Almost no respondents cited police intervention as a motivating factor in stopping. Less than 1% of respondents said they had rethought their behaviour after being caught by the police, and worries about getting caught were cited by only 3% of those who stopped taking cannabis and 2% of those who stopped using cocaine or MDMA. [Source]

In Australia, the high price of imported drugs is leading to a boom in crystal meth, with all the associated negative social issues.


According to the survey, Australians are among the biggest users of prescription drugs.

“The Americans remain the world leaders in prescription drug use but Australia’s not far behind,” Dr Winstock said.

But Australians are increasingly misusing prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and sleeping tablets, Dr Winstock said.

“I think, in part, that’s because other sorts of opiate drugs that are available in Australia are really expensive,” he said. That’s the other thing that probably characterises the Australian drug scene more than anything else … your really expensive drugs.

Dr Winstock said Australia’s strict border security meant drugs were more expensive because they were harder to get into the country.

“It’s really difficult to get anything into your country,” he said. But the high drug prices in Australia mean many often choose to buy cheaper alternatives, including crystal methamphetamine, or ice.

“The fact that you’ve got one that’s incredibly dangerous and is causing havoc for a lot of people’s mental health and well being is a bit unfortunate,” he said. “I think the reason Australia will probably be protected from running into serious cocaine problems is because [it costs] about $350 a gramMost people are probably going to think there’s better ways they can spend their money.” [Source]




Ecstasy in Australia costs about double the global average. Despite this Australians lead the chart in pill-popping.

2015 ecstasy-mdma-dose

Read the official findings for 2015 here.

More videos can be found here, including Alcohol, Synthetic Cannabinoids, and Nitrous Oxide.