DANGEROUS 'legal highs' bought over the internet are booming in West Fife and "wrecking families" according to one reader.
Concerns have been raised by Fife police and the NHS about the growth in use of Mephedrone, known as white magic, a powder which is believed to give users a feeling similar to that of ecstasy and cocaine.
The drug is sold as plant food on the internet where it is described as not being for human consumption.
The reader contacted the Press after claiming it was becoming "massive" in Fife and he was concerned about the side effects he had seen in friends who had taken it.
The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, "The come down from it is terrible - they feel so low and suicidal.
"It's ruining good people.
"I know one person who took a bit before he went home with his girlfriend.
"He blanked out, smashed up the house, attacked his girlfriend and didn't even know he'd done it.
"I spoke to him after and he said he would never touch it again.
"Another guy took nothing six months ago then he started taking this stuff - it's wrecking everything.
"His wife came down the stairs and he was walking about the house with powder all over his hands and didn't have a clue what he was doing while on this stuff."
He claimed the people he knew who took the drug were working adults and parents and included an accountant.
"These are people who maybe had a wee dabble with cocaine now and again but with this they are rolling around the floor," he added.
"It's a mess."
Mephedrone, also known as 'miaow' or 'nonsense', was made illegal in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Israel due to growing evidence of harm, including a reported possible cause of death.
Apart from the euphoria and alertness it is said to induce anxiety, paranoia and a risk of fits.
A Dunfermline-based addiction services prison worker, who also did not want to be named, spoke to the Press about his concerns.
"Because it's a stimulant the effects are going to be on the heart and the nervous system," he said.
"It's unpredictable because you don't know what's in it.
"There will be different strengths in different areas and one of the more unpleasant ingredients is fertiliser.
"It's probably not very clever to use it with alcohol.
"There are all different types going about and a lot of hearsay.
"But it's the way to mental health problems and that's why it should be banned."
West Fife Community Drugs team said they were "concerned" about growing reports of mephedrone use locally.
Jim Carr, from the team said, "We are aware of the issue and are making enquiries into its use.
"We can't comment too much right now because there is a dearth of information."
Fife police said they were aware of the drug - known to them as 'bubbles' - but because its emergence is so recent they could not confirm how popular it had become.
Detective Chief Inspector Graham Seath, head of Fife's drug squad, said, "There is a strong possibility that constituents used in the manufacture of this drug may be illegal and come under the realms of current drug legislation.
"Investigations are continuing as we seek, with other agencies and partners involved in public protection, a profile of consumption which would assist us in our ongoing operations."
A spokesperson for NHS Fife said, "NHS is aware of the use of mephedrone in Fife because of the close links with police and other agencies, not only on the mephedrone issue but also on other emerging drug patterns.
"Mephedrone is sometimes sold as cocaine. As mephedrone has no quality control, no one can be sure the substance is in fact mephedrone.
"Therefore, side effects are difficult to determine."
She added, "NHS Fife would like to highlight the importance that individuals appreciate combining drugs with alcohol can produce a lethal cocktail and a potentially fatal outcome."
Calls for the UK government to crack down on 'legal highs' was raised recently after Stephanie Balcarras (22), from Hamilton, was found dead at a friend's house in Blackpool.
It is believed she took GBL, a legal 'party' drug known as liquid ecstasy.
By Matt Meade
November 4, 2009