Melanotan injections are a growing trend among young women, but just what are they? And are they safe?
The drug is used as a skin tanning agent. Ten milligrams of illegal peptide powder is mixed with ten millilitres of water and injected using a standard syringe. The injection is followed by at least 20 minutes of sun a day, leaving the user with an even tan. This process is repeated every three to five days to maintain the colour.
But there can be side effects: nausea and dizziness may be felt immediately, but fade after an hour and diminish with prolonged use. There is also a risk of long-term side effects such as skin cancers and blood-borne viruses.
A Sydney user, Ashley, agreed to speak to The Newsroom on condition of anonymity. The 22-year-old doesn’t fully understand or think about the long-term consequences of using the drug, but says she and her girlfriends prefer it to the messiness of fake tanning.
In 2012, after Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration banned the import of Melanotan (which remains untested on humans and has yet to be approved for medical use anywhere in the world), Customs and Border Protection seized 48 shipments. Despite the threat of a $170,000 fine and 12-month jail term, Australians continue to buy the drug online, where it is freely available.
Ashley says that she believes it’s okay “because you don’t burn when you’re on it.
“So you are set a false sense of security… A case of ignorance is bliss, beauty is pain.” – Kristy Coulcher