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Government to take action over mephedrone

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 Government to take action over mephedrone

The government’s official drug advisory panel are to recommend the banning of the legal high mephedrone, after the drug was linked to the deaths of two teenagers.

Police said they believed the drug - which has become popular in the club scene - contributed to the deaths of Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19. They died on Monday after a night out in Scunthorpe.

Yesterday, Lord Mandelson said the government would “take any action that is needed… to avert such tragic consequences occurring in the future”.

Campaigners have said that mephedrone should have been banned after warnings about its dangers emerged in Scotland last year.

Supporters of the ban say that a report on the drug has been “extremely” delayed by the departure of Professor David Nutt, the ACMD chairman, who was sacked by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary last October for criticising the government’s cannabis policy.

There have been two previous deaths in Britain linked to the drug, which is illegal in other European countries including Norway, Germany and Finland after it was associated with a number of deaths.

Last week it emerged that since December 180 pupils had skipped classes after taking the drug at a secondary school in north-west Leicestershire – more than two a day.
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) says a ban of the substance should be considered.

Mephedrone, also known as ‘M-Cat’, ‘meow meow’, and ‘plant food’ comes in the form of a white / off white powder and is typically sniffed by users, although it can also be bought in capsule form and can be dissolved in water.

Its side effects are said to include psychosis, palpitations, burning throat, nosebleeds and insomnia.

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