A stimulant and a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
What does it look like?
Methylphenidate-based drugs are sold as powders, crystals, pellets and tablets.
The powders and crystals tend to be white or off-white in colour, while the pellets and tablets can be different colours.
Methylphenidate is a prescription only medicine that comes as yellow, grey and white tablets and as capsules which can be half green, half white or half blue, half white or half brown, half white or half lilac, half white, or half light grey, half purple, or half grey, half purple, or lilac.
Methylphenidate and methylphenidate-based drugs can be snorted, swallowed or injected.
Injecting any drug can do nasty damage to your veins and arteries, and has been known to lead to gangrene (death of body tissue, usually a finger, toe or a limb) and to infections.
There are also risks involved in sharing needles, syringes and other equipment involved in injecting that are well-known – it puts you, and others, in danger of serious infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
How does it make you feel?
As stimulant drugs, methylphenidate and the methylphenidate-based drugs can make you feel very ‘up’, awake, excited, alert and energised, but they can also make you feel agitated and aggressive. They may also stop you from feeling hungry.
Stimulants can also cause you to feel agitated, panicky and cause a psychotic episode (this is a mental state when you can see or hear things which aren't there and can have delusions), which can lead you to put your own safety at risk.
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size and what other drugs you may have also taken.
Physical health risks
Methylphenidate and methylphenidate-based drugs can put a strain on your heart and nervous system, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. This can be extremely dangerous, even fatal, especially if you have a pre-existing heart problem.
When using a methylphenidate-based drug, you may give your immune system a battering so you might get more colds, flu and sore throats. You may also feel quite low for a while after you’ve stopped using them.
Ethylphenidate use has been associated with an increased heart rate and raised blood pressure and bizarre and violent behaviour. Injecting ethylphenidate has been associated with a loss of fine motor control.
Injecting any drug can do nasty damage to your veins and arteries, and has been known to lead to gangrene (death of body tissue, usually a finger, toe or a limb) and to infections. There are also risks involved in sharing needles, syringes and other equipment involved in injecting that are well-known – it puts you, and others, in danger of serious infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
Mental health risks
Stimulant drugs, like methylphenidate and the methylphenidate-based drugs, can make you feel overconfident and disinhibited, induce feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia, and even cause psychosis, which can lead you to put your own safety at risk.
Ethylphenidate use has been associated with anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, visual disturbances, bizarre and violent behaviour.
What is methylphenidate cut with?
Testing has found that ethylphenidate has been mixed with other substances including 5-MeO-DALT, 2-aminoindane, ephedrine, caffeine and lidocaine.
Some of these substances are also stimulants or mimic some of the non-stimulant effects of stimulants, such as lidocaine which has the same numbing effect as cocaine.
It is reasonable to assume that other methylphenidate-based drugs may be mixed with the same or similar substances.
Is it dangerous to mix with other drugs?
By mixing methylphenidate-based drugs with alcohol or other drugs you increase the chances of having a bad time.
The effects of the different drugs might be greatly increased, the drugs might interact in an unexpected way or they could also mask, temporarily, the negative effects of the drugs taken, which could place you at greater risk than you feel.
For example, mixing a methylphenidate-based drug with another stimulant increases the pressure put on your heart, which could result in a heart attack.
Can you get addicted?
Stimulants are generally addictive and whilst there is as yet no confirmed published research evidence showing these particular methylphenidate-based drugs to be addictive, there is anecdotal evidence that users do feel a strong urge to re-use them.
This is a Class B drug, which means it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.
Additional law details
The Government has introduced a Temporary Class Drug Order (TCDO), which means that while it is not illegal to possess the following methylphenidate related compounds, it is illegal to supply or sell; Ethylphenidate (ethyl 2-phenyl-2-(piperidin-2-yl)acetate), 3,4-dichloromethylphenidate (3,4-DCMP), Methylnaphthidate (HDMP-28), Isopropylphenidate (IPP or IPPD), propylphenidate.
If the police believe that you intend to supply or sell methylphenidate based drugs controlled under the TCDO they will take some action.
A conviction for a drug based offence could have a serious impact. It could make it harder, even impossible, to visit certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.