I'd love to have been present at the meeting where makers of new club drug Roflcoptr thought up the name. 'Guys, we've invented a stimulant that makes you fill your pants and listen to Kate Bush. What shall we call it?' 'LOLcano? Chairman LMAO? Amazebonk?' 'No, none of those are stupid or annoying enough. Wait, I've got it...'
Of course, it's not really called Roflcoptr, any more than mephedrone was ever called 'meow meow' outside of the tabloids. The drug is methoxetamine, it's similar to ketamine, and it exploits the same legal loophole that enabled mephedrone to flourish in 2009 - ie, chemists take an illegal drug and tweak its molecular structure very slightly, until it's technically a different substance, and therefore legal.
Roflcoptr might sound like a joke - and it is, sort of. The word itself, in case you're not familiar, was originally an item of online-gaming 'leetspeak' that went irritatingly mainstream. In this case, the manufacturers coyly deny that it's an acronym for 'rolling on the floor, laughing, crapping our pants, totally ruined'. But the drug is an actual thing, not a hoax.
It's cheap. You can buy it online, from a larkily-written website, for £17 a gram. Whether you'd want to is a different matter. If you've read our recent news story on the drug, or the original Mixmag feature, you'll be aware of its most unfortunate side effect, namely that - and there's no pleasant way to phrase this - it makes you shit yourself. Methoxetamine has also been known to trigger psychotic episodes, causing one user to "impulsively fondle a stranger’s breasts, as if controlled by an external force."
Hmm. But beyond the absurd details, there is something novel and interesting going on here. Recreational drugs are traditionally sold on the strength of their potency, or naughtiness. Methoxetaline - or 'mket', which again no-one actually seems to be calling it - might be the first drug in history ever to be marketed as a joke.
Quite a specific joke, too. Everything about Rolfcoptr, from the daft nickname to the unpleasant side effects, appears to be inspired by the much-loved 1997 'Cake' episode of Brass Eye, in which Chris Morris whipped up a moral panic over a made-up drug, hoodwinking various celebrities in the process, and leading to the 'drug' being discussed in the House Of Commons.
The difference is that, unlike Cake, Roflcoptr actually exists - and, lest we get carried away with the supposed comedy value, methoxetamine has already been linked to one death: in 2011, a Swedish woman died after injecting 100mg of the stuff as part of a massive cocktail of other substances. Generally it is snorted, not injected.
Ben Beaumont-Thomas, who wrote the Mixmag piece, assures me that it's "100% not Morris-related, promise," and it didn't take me long to find various people who'd taken it. Vice have done a lengthy interview with the bloke who invented it, though it's disappointingly high on clinical chemistry and low on LOLocausts.
Frustratingly, the people behind the Roflcoptr website wouldn't respond to my emails, and their Facebook seems to have been taken down - though they're prolific on Twitter (are these the world's first social media-savvy drug-dealers?). Talk To Frank, meanwhile, didn't want to, er, talk about it.
Still, I wanted to find out more about this bizarre substance. Obviously I wasn't going to try it myself (Christ no. I'm a 31-year-old married man. I can't spend my weekends rolling around on the floor crapping myself. I've got shelves to put up). So I gathered up some testimonials from other people instead.
The St John's Ambulance crew at Creamfields first noticed it when they found people standing upright, totally alone and zoned out, with pants full of shit. It essentially turns you into a shit-zombie. And yes, I blame Skrillex.
I used to do it quite often. Seemed harmless to me though I lost all concept of where I was and what was reality. I listened to The Knife's 'Tomorrow, In A Year' album on it. I thought I was in a boat floating down the Amazon, what's not to like?
My mate drove his car into his house on methox. Another mate thought the telly was taking the piss out of him. Yet another mate thought he was in a porno and broke his laptop. And one other mate was found at the bottom of the garden screaming about how he was possessed. Good work.
That drug fucked me up bad. Worse than any K-hole I've ever been in. Ill for days after. Not fun at all.
The effects are schizophrenia combined with rapid emotional shifts, from manic depressive through to completely irrational intense emotional events that can often include visions. Long-term sleep deprivation and excessive alcohol use to keep the party going for two or three days are part of the excessive and extreme behaviour patterns.
It has never been called Roflcopter. And only dicks call it m-ket. It's actual name is mxe, or methoxetamine. It's an anologue of ketamine.
My housemate has just done a line and now he's off to the library. Horrible.
It's one chemical away from Ketamine, it gives a similar feeling but with more of a buzz.
When mixed with other substances this induces anxiety and pain attacks. My friends were rough after taking this and they have a high tolerance.
I've got videos of my mate on it from last summer - they're completely mental. Like a horror show.
The effects of Mket are just weird. It's like you don't know anything and you can't feel anything, it's like you don't exist. I've holed on Mket a few times, I thought that life was a big Tetris game and I've thought that I was dead. The only bad side effect is that you cannot sleep properly after taking it , and sometimes you struggle to fill your lungs. I also occasionally have an existential crisis for a day or two after I take Mket. But there is no depression after it.