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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU member states have unanimously backed a Europe-wide ban on mephedrone, described by Brussels as a "dangerous, ecstasy-like drug," despite a recent report from the bloc's own drugs agency that said there is limited evidence of any danger.

    In a near record for the EU's normally slow legislative process, after just 44 days on Friday (3 December), the bloc's 27 justice ministers backed a commission proposal made on 20 October of this year to criminalise the manufacture and marketing of the drug.

    Mephedrone, commonly known by the street names 'meow meow' and 'plant food,' is already illegal in 15 EU states. The ban will now be extended to the remaining 12 countries in the union.

    "It is good to see that EU governments are prepared to take swift action to ban this dangerous drug," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "The EU has shown today that we can act quickly to stop this kind of drug from taking more lives."

    In a statement, the commission repeated a claim made first in October that the drug has been "linked to at least 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone."

    "Young people should not be fooled. These drugs are harmful," said the commissioner.

    The commission statement also claimed that a scientific risk assessment carried out by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) "showed that mephedrone can cause acute health problems and lead to dependency."

    However, as EUobserver reported in October, the EMCDDA document said that no direct causal link can be made between the drug and any deaths and actually warned against prohibition.

    Of the 37, there are only two reported fatalities in which meow meow appears to be the sole cause of death - one in Sweden and one in the United Kingdom. As for the rest: "In some of these cases it is likely that other drugs and/or other medical conditions or trauma may have contributed to or been responsible for death."

    "The inquests into the deaths are pending for the majority of these cases therefore it is not possible at this time to determine the contribution of mephedrone," the report goes on.

    The commission did not want to be drawn on how many deaths in Europe there were where alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine "appear to be the sole cause of death."

    However, according to the commission's own data, harmful alcohol consumption is estimated to be responsible for approximately 195,000 deaths a year in the EU, while smoking kills 1.2 million in Europe annually.

    The report also warned that any risk from toxicity is related to the dose of meow meow used. But the scientists said that there is insufficient information available to determine a "dose threshold" - or, in other words, how much is too much.

    Scientists do know however a lethal dose of coffee: A person weighing 70 kilograms would be able to kill himself with roughly 293 Starbucks tall lattes, if the person did not die of water intoxication first.

    The study said that such a move could forge a link between meow meow and organised crime where none currently exists: "Control measures could create an illegal market in mephedrone with the associated risk of criminal activity."

    According to the document, adverse side effects reported by users include teeth grinding, sweating, headaches, nausea, agitation, palpitations, chest pain, paranoia, nasal irritation and sexual arousal. Severe side effects however such as seizures or abnormal heart rhythms are "rare."

    "The studies available on mephedrone are few, largely preliminary and focused on user self-reports. To date no epidemiological data on prevalence has been published. The majority of studies originate from the United Kingdom and evidence from other member states is scarce."

    The "most detailed studies" have come from telephone surveys of UK clubbers.

    The report warns against jumping to conclusions about the safety of the drug: "Taken as a whole, the scientific evidence base available for drawing conclusions is limited and this proviso should be borne in mind when interpreting the findings of the risk assessment exercise."

    Speaking to EUobserver at the time of the commission proposal, the EMCDDA's senior scientific co-ordinator, Paul Griffiths, said that much of the fear of the drug had been stirred up by irresponsible press reporting.

    "It must be said that some of the reporting in the media has not been borne out by the toxicology," he said.

    EU justice spokesman Matthew Newman told EUobserver: "Although the conclusive scientific evidence concerning the overall risks of mephedrone is still limited at this stage, a prudent approach is appropriate."

    Leigh Phillips
    December 03, 2010



  1. Phenoxide
    It's funny.. mephedrone has been on the EU's radar for several years. The EU council apparently risk assessed mephedrone under 2005/387/JHA protocol some time ago, but didn't even flag it for further consultation or action. It was not considered an issue that required further investigation.

    How times change. Now that governments in a few member states have taken action and leaned on the others, mephedrone is suddenly a 'dangerous ecstacy-like drug' (note they don't draw direct parallels to pure MDMA). This comes against a backdrop where drug researchers and workers across Europe generally seem to be in agreement that there is insufficient evidence to properly risk assess any novel recreational substance. Their most compelling evidence was a few anecdotes from phone conversations? Is this really how EU policy is dictated?

    Even the normally partisan EMCDDA delivered a measured response that has been totally ignored in reaching this decision. It appears the EU justice ministers have a hard time distinguishing between prudency and ignorance. A case of the blind leading the blind methinks.

    It's also a thoroughly pointless stance to take. Criminalize mephedrone? Fine. There's already tens of derivative cathinones on the market. This neither minimizes harm nor effectively prohibits the stimulant research chemicals market. A prudent drugs policy indeed.
  2. Alfa
    Is there no mentions of a cannabinoid ban? I would expect that.
  3. akack2
    Any idea when this could take effect ?
  4. akack2
    Solicitor here in Czech Republic cant get any answers
  5. Alfa
    That's because there are no answers to that specific question. If a solicitor needs to check this, then thats a cause to wonder.
    The EU has no schedules of controlled substances. The EU does not ban substance as such. The EU has treaties with all member states, which obligates countries to schedule mephedrone. The question is: how long does each country take to realize they have to ban the substance and then write a effective law and implement it.
  6. akack2
    Yes thats what we have been thinking and Czech Republic could take a while to do this because of its quite individual approach . Lets hope its not just brought in overnight like in Ireland , that was hard work .
  7. akack2
    And the reason the solicitor checked was because I asked her to .
  8. Alfa
    How long did the Czech Republic take to implement each of the previous EU bans? If you put that into chronological order then you will probably see if the time between the EU ban and implementation became shorter or not. If you can, please post this information.

    The EU has called on member states last year, to speed up their ban process. What has Czech done to speed up their process? I would expect that this information should be publicly available.
  9. akack2
    Good point a Chara Il give that a shot and will return with any useful info .
  10. C.D.rose
    Do you know how that works exactly? Because, my thinking was, the headline suggests a somewhat false sense of how it works. The judicial systems of member states - except for where EU law applies, but this is not for penal law - are still strictly separate. I'd think that this is actually pure intergovernmentalism at work, and there just happens to be unanimous agreement. Thus, implementation of the mephdrone ban and the speed at which it occurs would be up to member states. Is that not so?
  11. Alfa
    You are correct on all counts.

    There must be a time limit on such things. The EU always adds time limits. Though they never add clauses to prevent that time limits get broken.
  12. Springtime
    I love the way they list "sexual arousal" as one of the "adverse side effects" alongside headaches, palpitations and so on. What fun lives these bureaucrats must lead!
  13. C.D.rose
    Sounds like the EU alright :laugh:.. Thanks for clarifying, I was confused and wondering whether the Lisbon Treaty had brought some measure of supranationalism into narcotics/substance legislation...
  14. Alfa
    Im fairly sure that the EU is working on EU drug law, comparable to the US its Federal drug schedules.
  15. 3.4-Empathy
    I believe january
  16. SwiftyyFlintt
    Glad to see it banned in all of the EU. In my opinion, mephedrone is one of the most dirty, horrible party drugs to take. Turns everybody i know who regularly takes it into a mess when on it and mentally they can't think straight after a session on it. Wish my jackalope had never touched it.
  17. akack2
    Dance with the devil and the devil changes you .
  18. Terrapinzflyer
    The EU’s 27 Justice Ministers have agreed to ban a dangerous ecstasy-like drug that is still legal in 12 EU countries, including Portugal.

    The European Commission had proposed on 20 October that governments act to stop the free spread of the drugmephedrone” across Europe by submitting it to control measures.

    Mephedrone is already illegal in 15 EU countries. It has been linked to at least 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone.

    “It is good to see that EU governments are prepared to take swift action to ban this dangerous drug,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.

    “This drug is sold over the internet, often behind innocent names like plant food or bath salts. Young people should not be fooled. These drugs are harmful. The EU has shown today that we can act quickly to stop this kind of drug from taking more lives.”

    The decision bans the manufacturing and the marketing of mephedrone, submitting it to criminal sanctions all over Europe.

    Two fatalities have been reported in the EU in which mephedrone appears to be the sole cause of death.

    There are at least another 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone in which mephedrone has been detected in post-mortem samples.

    Mephedrone is a stimulant whose physical effects are comparable to those produced by ecstasy (MDMA) or cocaine.

    It is mostly sold as powder, but also as capsules or tablets, on the internet, from “head shops” and from street-level dealers.

    A scientific risk assessment carried out by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed that mephedrone can cause acute health problems and lead to dependency, while a few fatalities related to its use have been reported across Europe.

    Mephedrone has no established medical value or other known legitimate purpose. It is a controlled substance in 15 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the UK.

    In Portugal, the drug is sold as a fertiliser and its packaging states it is unfit for human consumption.

    December 11, 2010
  19. akack2
    A letter from a solicitor in Czech Republic :

    Dear Sir ,
    As have we already informed,mefedron will be added to the illegal drugs list within half a year.However it is not legal to sell this substance in the Czech Republic even now as pursuant to the Czech Criminal Code,it is not possible to sell psychotropic substances in such way that would clearly imply it was a sale of such substance for the purpose of use by people,and nothing can be changed about it even by the fact that the package is identified as a fertilizer and may not be consumed by people,or used in a way other than for the purpose designated on the package.Pursuant to the Czech Law,it is the case of spreading drug addiction.
    As we were informed by the police,the police do not solve such cases as much more complicated probation is necessary than with the sale of substances which are officially illegal,however,this does not guarantee the avoidance of criminal recourse.
  20. akack2
    I think that solicitor is a dick .Im going to find another
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