A LEGAL drug that may have been linked to the death of a 14-year-old girl in Brighton is commonly used in Bournemouth.
One Bournemouth shop selling legal highs gets up to 20 requests a week for Mephedrone.
An assistant at the shop said it does not sell the drug but claimed it is easy for users to find it on the internet or through local dealers.
A search for Mephedrone on the internet shows it can be bought legally for £11 a gram.
Substances such as Spice, which uses a synthetic version of THC, a chemical in cannabis, and other substances such as BZP and GBL, are chemical variations of illegal drugs.
Mephedrone, more commonly known by users as “Meow Meow”, has emerged in the last year and experts believe its chemical formula is two tweaks away from ecstasy.
There have been claims that 14-year-old student Gabrielle Price took a mix of ketamine and Mephedrone before her death at a party in Brighton, although two people have been released on suspicion of supplying illegal drugs after the party and released on police bail.
Some legal highs are commonly sold over the counter, with various different brands of pills and herbal products available that are similar to illegal drugs.
Mephedrone and other legal drugs have become the latest craze for students looking for a cheap thrill.
A student at Bournemouth University said: “It appealed to me because it was a legal way to get high.
“However Mephedrone was the worst drug I have ever taken.”
Noel Lockyer-Stevens, services manager of Crime Reduction Initiatives in Bournemouth, said: “Part of the problem is that there are no statistics around the number of people using legal substances and this makes it very difficult to solve the problem.”
The various drug support organisations say that these drugs are quite new and not as well known as illegal drugs.
Harry Shapiro, director of communications at DrugScope, said: “These drugs aren’t very well known in the medical profession.
“There are GPs who wouldn’t recognise these drugs are causing problems.”
The Home Office is making some of these drugs illegal, and in December 2009 Spice will become a class B drug and GBL and BZP will be class C drugs.
However the Home Office has not changed its stance on Mephedrone, which will continue to remain legal high.
November 30, 2009
Bournemouth Daily Echo