Though deadly party drug mephedrone had been banned last year, there is little evidence that the move has affected its popularity, according to research.
The substance, nicknamed Meow Meow, was hurriedly classified as an illegal Class B drug in April 2010 after being linked to a string of deaths.
"Legal status wasn't considered important. People don't take anything because it's legal. They do it because they like it," the Daily Mail quoted Fiona Measham, a senior lecturer in criminology who surveyed people in nightclubs for the study, as saying.
The study, by a team at Lancaster University, questioned 308 people at two south London nightclubs.
Half of those said they intended to use drugs that night and mephedrone was the most popular, with 27 per cent planning to take it.
The study found that mephedrone had been the second most commonly used drug within the past month, with 41 per cent taking it. And more than half admitted that they had used mephedrone in the past year.
The researchers suggested that the rise in mephedrone use might be due to a drop in the purity of ecstasy and cocaine.