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  1. chillinwill
    The dangers to young people of a legal high known as “meow meow” have been highlighted by the Government’s new drugs adviser. Professor Les Iversen said the speed at which the drug, officially called mephedrone, had become popular was “quite scary”.

    The retired academic, who was appointed interim chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after the sacking of Professor David Nutt, also expressed alarm at “soft” attitudes to cocaine.

    He said that the council would take evidence from the independent committee set up by Professor Nutt in the wake of his dismissal by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, but added that his was the only statutory body that could tell ministers about drugs and their social harms. “Nobody else can give formal advice to the Government,” he said.

    The former professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, said that the council would start gathering evidence on mephedrone and was expected to recommend next month whether it should be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    The drug, which has a similar effect to Ecstasy or cocaine, is also known as “drone” and “bubble”. It comes in powder and tablet form and can be dissolved or snorted. Users can suffer nose bleeds, burns, palpitations, insomnia and memory problems.

    Professor Iversen said: “There are waves of fashion. Cannabis is going out of fashion, whereas legal highs are attractive. The problem with legal highs is they seem to crop up with increasing frequency. It has become a very lucrative business. The one we have our sights on at the moment is mephedrone which six months ago, hardly anybody was talking about.”

    The internet played a huge role in spreading mephedrone and other legal highs. “I find it alarming that very young people — schoolchildren — can buy a reasonably powerful psychoactive substance and take it freely. It is a quite scary scenario.”

    He expressed concern at a relaxed attitude towards widespread use of cocaine. “I think that attitudes to cocaine have gone alarmingly soft. It is one of the fastest-growing Class A substances in the illicit drugs scene. Heroin is stable. Cocaine is going up and up and up. I view it as a very dangerous drug, one of the most addictive of all the pyschoactive drugs.”

    Too many people had lost sight of cocaine’s addictiveness. “They seem to regard it as a relatively harmless supplement to other activities such as drinking,” he said.

    Professor Nutt was dismissed over his claim that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than drugs including LSD, Ecstasy and cannabis. He had previously clashed with Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary, after suggesting that horse riding was more dangerous than Ecstasy.

    Professor Iversen admitted that he had supported legalising cannabis some years ago but had changed his mind in the light of evidence about new more potent forms. He still supported cannabis being a Class C drug; the Government moved it to Class B.

    Richard Ford
    February 8, 2010
    Times Online


  1. Abrad
  2. Meow Tse Dung
    Cannabis is far from out of fashion! Here in France I can't rememberer a day with SWIM having some. It's not out of fashion, it's just 'normal'... Maybe 30% of the kids to-day smoke it.
  3. chillinwill
    Concern of drug experts Prof Les Iversen and Dr Ken Checinski over mephedrone

    TWO of the UK’S top drug experts have driven home the dangers of a legal high which The Press is fighting to ban from our streets.

    The man at the helm of the organisation which keeps the Government updated on drug abuse issues said it is now focusing its attention on mephedrone as it aims to assess the scale of the threat it poses.

    And a leading psychiatrist said “lots of questions” remained unanswered about the potential harm of mephedrone, which is also known as MCAT and Meow Meow and is popular with clubbers.

    Last month, The Press launched a campaign to ban the drug, which is legal providing it is sold as plant food and not for human consumption, and is sold on the internet for £10 a gram.

    Prof Les Iversen, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said: “The ACMD is concerned about the diversity, prevalence and potential harms of substances that constitute ‘legal highs’ and has already delivered advice to the Government on GBL, BZP and synthetic cannabinoids, which have been found in products marketed as SPICE.

    “We are now looking at the dangers of mephedrone, and the related cathinone compounds, as a priority and will report back to government as soon as possible.

    “It is important to understand that just because a substance is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to consume. Under medicines legislation most of these legal highs are illegal to sell, supply, or advertise for human consumption.”

    Dr Ken Checinski, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said he began research on “legal highs” such as mephedrone in 2007.

    Mephedrone was one of many drugs that I looked at in terms of the availability of it, how easy it was to get and the effects of it. Others since then, such as SPICE, have been made illegal.

    “I have looked at the effects of the drug and in my knowledge it draws strong similarities to amphetamines, and is most like MDMA, which is ecstasy. It is a new drug and what we do know is that it carries risk, what we do not know is just how dangerous it is. But what is clear is we have lots of questions about this drug.

    “I support the ACMD, which has accelerated its work plan to raise awareness of this drug, which is what I think we should be doing.”

    Jennifer Bell
    February 9, 2010
    York Press
  4. chillinwill
    'Poor man's cocaine' could be banned

    HOME Secretary Alan Johnson last night signalled that so-called "legal highs" could be banned as early as next month.

    A decision on the status of herbal drugs, including mephedrone, will be made soon after a report by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

    It comes after Westcountry parents issued a stark warning that mephedrone, also known as "bounce" and "meow meow", was becoming increasingly prominent among young people.

    Detective Constable Sid Willett, a drug liaison officer with Devon and Cornwall Police, said officers were playing "cat and mouse" with suppliers.

    Mephedrone has been dubbed "poor man's cocaine" for its similar effect to Ecstasy or cocaine and belongs to the cathinone class of drugs.

    It comes in powder and tablet form often sold as plant food and users can suffer nosebleeds, burns, palpitations, insomnia and memory problems.

    ACMD chairman Professor Les Iversen yesterday said he was alarmed at the rate it had become popular.

    Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson said the ACMD, which advises Government on drug-related issues, was treating the issue as an "absolute priority" and was "moving as quickly as they can".

    He added the committee was "trying to ensure that they are not just dealing with mephedrone, they are dealing with the whole generic group so that we can't be fooled by the manufacturers moving around".

    Several MPs pressed the minister on the need to ban mephedrone after a decision to outlaw other legal highs including GBL, BZP and herbal mixtures that mimic cannabis.

    The ACMD is expected to receive advice on February 22 and make a decision in early March.

    The chairman of the council, Professor Les Iversen, moved yesterday to warn young people about the dangers of the drug.

    He told the Times: "There are waves of fashion. Cannabis is going out of fashion, whereas legal highs are attractive.

    "The problem with legal highs is they seem to crop up with increasing frequency. It has become a very lucrative business.

    "The one we have our sights on at the moment is mephedrone which six months ago, hardly anybody was talking about."

    February 9, 2010
    This Is Cornwall
  5. chillinwill
    Mephedrone ban hope

    THE Press campaign for the “legal high” drug mephedrone to be banned could succeed as soon as next month.

    Home Secretary Alan Johnson has revealed the advisory council on the misuse of drugs expects to make a decision by early March on outlawing mephedrone and related drugs.

    He said the topic was an “absolute priority” for the council, and it was moving as quickly as it could, trying to ensure it dealt not only with mephedrone, but the whole generic group of drugs.

    He said: “We will receive its advice and guidance before we take action.”

    The Minister spoke out in the Commons after being quizzed by MPs, including Scarborough & Whitby Tory Robert Goodwill.

    The MP spoke of his concern that the “purveyors of pernicious preparations” could often be one step ahead of the authorities, either by reformulating the molecules slightly or by marketing them as, for example, plant food.

    Mr Johnson said this problem illustrated why it was so important to get a generic classification, so whole areas could be covered and drug manufacturers could not “shift around”.

    He said: “We can actually make illegal a whole range and classification of those drugs.”

    The Press launched its campaign for the drug, commonly known as bubbles, meow meow or M-CAT, to be made illegal last month when a 17-year-old boy at Woldgate College, in Pocklington, collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital after taking it.

    Since then we have collected more than 200 signatures backing our campaign.

    Police also revealed a young man who had taken the drug in York had collapsed and stopped breathing before being revived by paramedics. Our investigation has revealed a surge in the number of users needing emergency hospital treatment.

    Mr Goodwill said today he “applauded” the Press campaign, which he said had helped highlight the issue, helping to persuade the Government to take action and also raising awareness among parents.

    The drug can cost as little as £3 a dose, and has become increasingly popular among young people in North and East Yorkshire. It is commonly found in plant food and is perfectly legal.

    February 10, 2010
    York Press
  6. chillinwill
    Home Secretary Alan Johnson to decide whether mephedrone should be made illegal

    HOME Secretary Alan Johnson is still waiting to hear from independent drug experts before deciding whether mephedrone should be made illegal.

    The Advisory Council on Drug Misuse has made investigating the potentially deadly “legal high” drug a priority and is reviewing whether it should be added to the list of banned substances that includes heroin.

    It was due to meet last week to discuss mephedrone and the Home Secretary revealed in Parliament at the beginning of February that he was hoping to hear from the council in early March.

    A Home Office spokesman confirmed yesterday the council will report “as soon as possible”. Hundreds of people signed The Press’ petition to have the drug banned when our Menace of Mephedrone campaign hit the streets last week. The campaign was launched in January following the collapse of a 17-year-old pupil at Woldgate College in Pocklington after taking the drug, which is also commonly known as bubbles, meow meow or M-CAT, and can cost as little as £3 a dose.

    March 4, 2010
    York Press
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