A Dundee-based charity today warned Christmas revellers to avoid “Bubbles”, the drug that has been sweeping the city in recent months
The warning comes after five young people in the city, the youngest only 15, suffered non-fatal overdoses after taking “bubbles” last month.
The drug is either swallowed or snorted, with users reporting an effect similar to ecstasy — euphoria, alertness and talkativeness.
Experts say users of the so-called “legal high” could experience severe side affects.
CAIR Scotland, a Dundee-based organisation that supports vulnerable young people and adults, said it was vital to be aware of the risks involved in drug misuse.
Alison Myles, head of children and young people’s services, said, “Over the Christmas and New Year period you may be offered something called ‘bubbles’. People may tell you that this is a legal drug but it is actually a chemical called mephedrone.
“Mephedrone is the known substance found in bubbles capsules and bags. It is a research chemical that is sold as plant food and is strictly not for human consumption.”
She added, “Side effects reported after using bubbles can include an increased heart rate, agitation, irritability, dizziness, pupil dilation, nausea and vomiting, headaches, increased blood pressure, dehydration, skin discolouration, erratic jaw movements, bleeding gums, irritated nostrils and increased body temperature.
“The key point to remember is bubbles are not safe.”
The organisation, based in Rattray Street, also urged partygoers to follow some simple tips to stay safe over Christmas and New Year.
“Stay with your friends — it is really important that you stay with your friends and do not wander off on your own,” Ms Myles said.
“If you are out in a pub or club, arrange a meeting point if you get lost so that you can all meet up. Always ring a reputable taxi company and do not walk off and try to stop a taxi in the street. Ideally, make sure you and your friends go home together.”
Pacing alcohol intake, not drinking on an empty stomach and never leaving drinks unattended were among other safety tips.
Ms Myles also encouraged people to take care of their sexual health and protect themselves from unnecessary risk.
“Alcohol and drug use lowers inhibitions, which impacts on decision making,” she said.
“This can result in people doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Make sure you carry a condom as this is the best way to protect yourself against STIs and unplanned pregnancy.”
A spokesman for Addaction, a specialist drug and alcohol treatment charity in Dundee, also urged young people to take extra precautions over the holidays.
Andrew Horne, director of operations in Scotland, said, “It does become a bit of a mad time of year. People tend to drink far too much, which affects their decision-making abilities and can lead them to do things they would not normally do.
“People going out and about at Christmas time and New Year should always stay with friends.
“If they do take something and begin to feel unwell, go to hospital immediately. Just be careful, always stay together and make sure someone you trust is always around.”
December 16, 2009