A 56-year-old man died after injecting mephedrone – also known as M-CAT – in his shoulder during chemsex.
The Italian was declared dead just before one in the morning after his male partner called paramedics when he collapsed.
With only a ‘sex belt with a harness around the waist’, the man seemed to have died when his heart and lungs suddenly stopped working after taking the medicine.
He had fallen and hit his head on a table after the collapse, but experts said that injury was “superficial” and not what killed him.
They suggested that an underlying heart condition was pushed over by its drug use and eventually caused his heart and organs to fail.
An expert told MailOnline that the use of drugs during sex can be more risky because people act more impulsively or because their effects can mask the symptoms of underlying disease.
The 56-year-old, who later had an enlarged heart and fat buildup in his arteries, died after injecting mephedrone into his shoulder “while performing sexual activities” (stock image)
The case of the man was reported by professors of legal medicine at the University of Parma in Italy, the city where he lived at the time.
They said that “fatal cases of chemsex are still rare,” and dying by mephedrone poisoning was also unusual.
But although it was unclear how much mephedrone the man had taken, they said the drug “played an important role” in his death.
Mephedrone, also known as M-CAT or meow, is usually sold as a powder alternative to drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy or speed and is usually cheaper.
It is for that reason a popular choice for chemsex and because it makes people more loved, according to Ian Hamilton, an addict teacher at York University.
He told MailOnline: ‘The advantage of using a medicine like mephedrone for sex is that it is a stimulant and, in the same way as ecstasy, reinforces feelings of closeness and warmth towards others, two factors that enhance the experience of sex.
“We don’t know how often this medicine is used to improve sex. Most of the information we have about chemsex relates to homosexual men, but it is possible that it is also used by heterosexual couples, we just don’t know how wide. ”
The Italian researchers said that sex with drugs is not new, but is becoming increasingly known in popular culture and the media.
People could participate to “prolong sexual pleasure and activity, increase sexual confidence, and improve perceived quality of sex,” they wrote.
Mephedrone, in particular, “offers a particularly sexually disinhibiting” high, “they said.
They discovered that at some point the man had also taken crystal meth and urine and gall samples showed that he had taken mephedrone on another recent occasion, suggesting that he used it regularly.
Hamilton said that mephedrone becomes particularly dangerous when mixed with other drugs.
“The most disturbing problem is that, like any stimulant, it can overload the heart,” he said. ‘In the worst case, this can be fatal, but it can also lead to short-term pain in the chest.
WHAT IS CHEMSEX?
Chemsex is a practice where people have sex while taking drugs.
According to experts, the trend emerged for the first time in the UK and Western Europe among gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and has gained more prominence and attention in recent years.
Commonly used drugs in chemsex are crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB – the latter has a reputation as a ‘date rape drug’.
People can also use drugs such as cocaine or ketamine, but these are less popular.
Writing in the diary Legal medicine, researchers from the University of Parma in Italy said: ‘The use of drugs in a sexual context is not new and has been documented in recent decades by many means, mostly taken to prolong sexual pleasure and activity, to increase sexual confidence as and improve the perceived quality of sex. “
It is not clear how often chemsex occurs, but a survey of 3,200 gay men in Ireland last month showed that one in 17 had done this last year.
“As with various other medications, people try to prevent it from coming down by taking more of the medication, which delays the unpleasant headache, urinating and hot flashes that this causes.”
The man in their case study was 5 ft8 in length and weighed 85 kg and his body was in ‘good condition’ for the autopsy.
However, he had an enlarged heart and a condition called arteriosclerosis, where the arteries are narrowed by an accumulation of cholesterol and fat.
In addition to a facial wound from where he hit his head, he had a puncture of a needle on his shoulder, where the mephedrone was injected.
The man had decided to dilute the chemical substance in it [saline] during sexual activities “and inject it around 11 p.m.
Only a few minutes later he suddenly collapsed and hit the table on the way down.
He was dead by the time medical personnel arrived and his death was officially recorded at 12.51 pm.
“No evidence of violence was observed,” the report said, and his autopsy showed that he had internal bleeding in his brain, heart, and kidneys.
Officials registered a “mephedrone-correlated death” and suggested that injecting the drug had an extra burden on his heart and caused it to fail.
Hamilton added that the use of drugs during sex could conceal sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, which could have more serious, deeper underlying causes.
“Taking this type of medication to improve sex can be more risky than taking medication for other reasons, because we are more impulsive and are less concerned about risks.
“The other problem is that using drugs such as mephedrone for sex can conceal an underlying physical problem related to sexual interest or the ability to be induced that could be treated by your doctor in a more traditional way, eliminating the need for to use such drugs would reduce in the first place. “
The research is published in the journal Legal medicine.