Methoxetamine goes by many names, most of them were devised by online vendors who were trying to maximise sales of the drug. Its abbreviation MXE never really went anywhere, then Mket was used and sales started to pick up. Mixmag and Vice then promoted the name ‘roflcoptr’ and again internet searches for the drug increased, coupled with a ketamine drought in the UK (which possibly had more of an effect) the drug started to gain popularity among former ketamine users. In April 2012, methoxetamine was placed under temporary class drug control, which prohibits its import and sale for 12 months. When the temporary ban kicked in the papers settle for the name Mexxy.
Methoxetamine is a derivative of ketamine. Allegedly, it was designed in 2008 for grey market distribution by M., an underground chemist, who singlehandedly produced the new dissociative anesthetic. Usually found in white or off white crystalline powder form, it can also come as a pellet. Cost before the temporary ban was approx £18 per gram although it was sold in smaller amounts at a reduced price.
Methoxetamine was marketed as “bladder friendly”, referring to the bladder damage associated with heavy ketamine use. To date this is not known and further scientific research is required to determine whether this is the case. With regards to toxicity, or damage to vital organs and the brain, again little is known. If MXE it is like ketamine it will have stimulant effects in smaller quantities and more hallucinatory and sedative effects at larger doses, though MXE may be more potent and longer lasting than ketamine.
In March 2012, the Home Office referred methoxetamine to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for possible temporary controlling. The ACMD gave their advice on March 23, with the chair commenting that “the evidence shows that the use of methoxetamine can cause harm to users and the ACMD advises that it should be subject to a temporary class drug order.”
An in-depth literature review was published in March 2012 which looked at scientific literature and information on the web relating to methoxetamine. The report concluded that “the online availability of information on novel psychoactive drugs, such as methoxetamine, may constitute a pressing public health challenge. Better international collaboration levels and novel forms of intervention are necessary to tackle this fast-growing phenomenon.”
At present, drug services working with young adults in the UK are seeing mephedrone, cannabis and alcohol rather than methoxetamine. Methoxetamine took a foothold with ketamine users and failed to have the overarching popularity of mephedrone. However, it does demonstrate how new drugs, new technologies and savvy entrepreneurs can efficiently distribute drugs to those who want them very quickly.