Schoolchildren as young as 11 are selling the potentially lethal drug mephedrone to fellow pupils, according to the mother of a young woman who died after taking another 'legal high'.
Maryon Stewart, whose 21-year-old daughter Hester died after taking GBL in April, said websites were making "as much as £100,000 per week" from selling mephedrone, a white powder more commonly known as "miaow miaow" or MCAT.
Last week mephedrone was linked to the death of 14-year-old schoolgirl Gabrielle Price, who allegedly took it with ketamine at a friend's house in Brighton. She suffered a heart attack and later died.
Mrs Stewart has written to Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, urging him to ban it immediately. She said he could do so within 90 minutes using a Parliamentary statutory instrument.
She went on: "The mission statement of the Home Office is to 'Protect the People' but right now young people in the UK are extremely vulnerable, being exposed to the real possibility of needless death and loss of dear family and friends.
"This is an outrage which must be urgently addressed."
Mephedrone is a stimulant that can produce similar effects in users as MDMA and Ecstasy, which are both illegal. Websites are offering it from just £5 a gram
The Royal College of Psychiatrists said it has started to see patients suffering from psychosis resulting from taking mephedrone.
Although it is usually illegal to sell, supply or advertise 'legal high' drugs under medicines legislation, website suppliers often get around the law by describing them as "plant food" or "research chemicals".
Last month legislation was passed to finally make GBL and synthetic cannabinoid’s – known as 'spice' – illegal.
The ban will come into force before Christmas – 18 months after the Government's chief drugs adviser called for a ban.
But anti-drug campaigners claim it does not go far enough because it does not ban other party drugs, including mephedrone, which are already banned in other countries including Sweden and Israel.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The ACMD are looking into it as a priority as part of their review into legal highs. They will report back next year and their advice will inform our response to these substances."
By Stephen Adams
November 30, 2009