Dealers legally selling mephedrone online and how users are playing Russian Roulette

By chillinwill · Mar 18, 2010 ·
  1. chillinwill
    The advert seems particularly chilling today. 'Get your orders in now in time for the weekend - and have those plants buzzing', customers are informed when they click on to the website apparently marketing gardening fertilizer.
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    What is actually on offer, however - in this case £15 for a gram - is not meant to be sprinkled on your flower beds or lawn at all.

    The people behind this online shop, and scores of others like it, are in fact drug dealers in all but name.

    The substance they are peddling, which can be delivered directly to your front door, is mephedrone.

    It is known as meow meow or just miaow on the club scene because the letters 'CAT' make up the spelling of the chemical.

    Meow meow should be accompanied by a picture of a revolver with a single bullet in the chamber - for those who snort it or take it in tablet form are playing a game of Russian Roulette with their lives.

    Sometimes they will experience feelings of euphoria but, more often than not, side- effects will include convulsions, breathing problems, nose bleeds, depression, psychosis - or even worse.

    'We need to get the message across that this drug is dangerous and you may die if you take it,' said Detective Chief Inspector Mark Oliver, following the deaths of two teenage friends within hours of each other after a night out together in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, on Sunday.

    Both Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, are believed to have taken mephedrone.

    At least three other deaths - one confirmed by toxicology reports yesterday - have been linked to mephedrone in Britain, as well as a string of fatalities in Norway and Finland, where it has been banned.

    Behind those tragedies, a terrifying picture is emerging at hospitals where scores of youngsters are now turning up in casualty after experimenting with mephedrone.

    This has prompted warnings from health officials and head teachers.

    The Home Office says it plans to make mephedrone illegal but is waiting for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs - which is investigating it as a 'top priority' - to report back later this year.

    In the meantime, it continues to flood the market and those who are making money out of it are beyond the law.

    We found at least 30 websites in a few minutes yesterday where you can purchase mephedrone.

    Some even supply a fake banknote to snort it as someone would cocaine.

    Buyers, they say, must be 18 or over, but anyone with an email address, an internet payment account, or just a mobile phone can buy the drug in some cases for as little as a few pounds.

    One site allows online 'gardeners' to fill a shopping basket of the crystalline powder, which it assured was 'produced in labs we have personally inspected that meet the highest international standards'.

    Such 'labs', in fact, are usually based in China where most mephedrone, a stimulant described as 'two molecular tweaks away' from pure ecstasy, is produced.

    It is believed to have entered Britain in 2008.

    By last summer it was sweeping through clubs and parties. Few areas of the country have been left untouched by mephedrone abuse.

    At one school in Leicestershire, 180 pupils have been off sick in the past four months after taking meow meow. Brighton and Hove is another 'hotspot'.

    Luci Hammond, a youth worker with substance abuse service ru-ok says new cases are coming to light every day.

    She said most users are aged about 14 but she had come across children as young as 12 who gather in parks and cemeteries to snort mephedrone - the most dangerous method of ingestion.

    'It is really painful to snort,' said Miss Hammond. 'We're hearing of nose bleeds that occur for days, as well as spinal and joint ache.

    'We've heard about [youngsters experiencing] the shakes and poor coordination with withdrawal.

    'Most youngsters were buying it online, from friends, or from dealers who buy mephedrone in bulk before selling it on for a profit.'

    One former dealer said: 'Now there is talk of it being made illegal, everyone is panicking and buying masses online.

    'In the next few weeks huge amounts are going to be brought into the area while it is still legal.'

    In other words, dealers hope to make a killing before it is banned.

    One mother, a headteacher, revealed how she found out her 18-year-old son James was hooked.

    She was in the kitchen when her mobile phone 'bleeped'. It was a message from James - who was watching TV in the lounge - asking her to come to him.

    'I sent my daughter to go and see what he wanted,' she recalled. 'A few moments later she ran back into the kitchen, her face completely white, "Mummy you'd better come quickly", she said so I immediately went through to the living room, where to my horror, I found James in floods of tears.

    'He sobbed: "I want to die mum, I just want to die. You've got to help me ... please, Mum ... help me.''

    'To my absolute horror he told me how he had been buying (the drug) regularly and taking it in our house for the past few months.

    'At first I couldn't understand what he was talking about. I'd heard of ecstasy, amphetamines, cocaine, but mephedrone?'

    That night, James went through the worst stages of withdrawal before receiving medical help. His mother says he is doing okay now.

    'I know what happened was enough to scare him from ever trying the drug again,' she added.

    The boys in Scunthorpe were not so lucky, of course.

    'We don't know much about what happened,' said the father of Nick Smith.

    'I don't want him to be labelled a druggie because he wasn't.

    'He was just on a night out with friends enjoying himself, a normal, caring hard-working lad.

    'I just don't want any other family to go through this or any other kids to die because of this. He was just 19 for God's sake.'

    By Paul Bracchi
    March 17, 2010
    Daily Mail

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