The government has used a temporary class drug order for the first time to ban the ‘legal high’ methoxetamine, also called ‘mexxy’ or MXE. From 5 April 2012 it has been illegal to sell or supply mexxy, including giving it away to friends, but possession for personal use is not illegal.
The temporary order can last for up to 12 months. During this time, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will make a full assessment and advise the government whether the drug should be permanently banned.
Mexxy is related to ‘dissociative anaesthetics’ such as ketamine, with similar, but longer lasting and more intense, effects – euphoria, relaxation, agitation, hallucinations and dissociative states such as catatonia.
It can also cause involuntary eye movement, poor coordination, unsteadiness on the feet and slurred speech, which are not seen with ketamine use.
Acute symptoms of mexxy use should be managed symptomatically and may need referral to accident and emergency. Less acute problems may need specialist assessment or just support, reassurance and monitoring. All cases should be assessed and managed as for any other users of psychoactive drugs presenting with problems.