Fears as use of Mephedrone Meow Meow hits Cheltenham
SPIRALLING numbers of young people are said to be getting their highs from lethal drug mephedrone.
The substance, which is better known as Meow Meow or M-Cat, is being sold on the streets of Cheltenham for between £8 and £15 per gram.
Police say usage of the drug has gone up since it was made illegal two years ago – a move the Government hoped would reduce its impact after it was linked to a string of deaths.
Problems linked to its use include paranoia, anxiety and heart palpitations.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Users say it is now on a par with cocaine and ketamine as the most popular drugs among young people in the county.
A 30-year-old man, who has experience of Cheltenham's drug scene, said: "Whereas cocaine is used by everyone, I would say ketamine and M-Cat are primarily used by people in the 15 to 23 age bracket.
"Recently M-Cat has got popular as a party drug. It has really taken off."
The man claimed that rather than reducing the drug's usage, making it illegal had led to people buying the substance from shady dealers.
He added: "Previously when websites were competing openly with each other, the quality of the product had to be high as otherwise people wouldn't go back.
"One of the problems since it has been made illegal is the quality has nose-dived.
"Now people are having to buy it on street corners and although they are paying the same price, they're being sold a product diluted with some other rubbish."
Tony France, of the Nelson Trust, which helps drug users in Gloucestershire, said the substance was here to stay.
"Meph has really claimed its spot," he said. "It shows the assumption that making it illegal would drive usage down was wrong.
"It is now in the top four in terms of usage among young people.
"I deal with lots of young people who have taken it and see the impact it has on them.
"It can pose a significant risk."
He said problems were more likely to arise from people overdosing on a night out – rather than the downward spiral effect of a substance like cannabis.
He added: "The best way to avoid coming to harm from drugs is not to take them at all.
"But failing that, mixing substances in your body at the same time – including taking something like mephedrone with alcohol – should be avoided."
Police said there was evidence to suggest the use of mephedrone had become more widespread in the county in recent years.
Acting superintendent Andrew Wasley said: "Since about 2008 we have seen an increase in the reporting of intelligence concerning its use in Gloucestershire."
Anyone with concerns about mephedrone should call the drugs hotline Frank on 0800 776600 or the Nelson Trust on 01453 885633.