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A recreational drug sold to youngsters in kiosks called rakefet has been classified by the Health Ministry as a dangerous drug and its sale prohibited.
The chemical in the drug, dimethylcathinone, is a phenethylamine synthesized from dichloromethane, bromopropiophenone and dimethylamine.
The ministry's order goes into effect in 30 days; use of the drug or its active ingredient will be a criminal act.
It belongs to a family of drugs that are psychologically addictive, and easy and inexpensive to synthesize. It is usually snorted, but can be smoked, injected or taken orally. The user feels euphoria. Methcathinone was first synthesized in Germany in 1928. It was used in the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s as an anti-depressant. Since the 1960s, methcathinone has been used as a recreational drug in the former Soviet Union. Around 1994, the US federal government informed the UN Secretary-General it believed that methcathinone should be added to list of drugs included under Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Health Minister Yaacov Edri signed the order banning the drug, which is related to the recently prohibited hagigat, which was also sold in round-the-clock kiosks known in Hebrew as pitzutziyot.
The ministry said that rakefet can cause loss of senses or consciousness, fainting and a sudden spurt in blood pressure, endangering the health of its users, who may also suffer tachycardia (elevated heart rate), dilated pupils and rapid breathing. The effects usually last for four to six hours.
Methylcathinone is very similar in structure to cathinone, an alkaloid stimulant found in the shrub Catha edulis (khat), the synthetic stimulant methamphetamine and other phenethylamines. The drug's effects are similar to those of methamphetamine, but generally less intense, and often more euphoric. The effects have been compared to those of cocaine. In the US, the street price is $20 to $25 for one-fourth of a gram, but in Israel its price is generally lower.