A PRETTY law student whose life was wrecked by legal drug Mephedrone is begging the government to ban it - before more young people suffer or die.
Despairing Holly Smith, 20, became emaciated and clumps of her HAIR fell out after she got hooked on the lethal substance known as Meow Meow.
The drug, a party favourite, recently claimed the life of a British school- girl - and caused one clubber to rip off his scrotum while hallucinating. mod edit: this has been proven false- scaremongering by the tabloid press. ~TF~
Yet it is easily available on the internet here and cheaper than booze.
Other countries, including the US, Israel and Sweden have banned it.
Holly - who thinks she has permanent brain damage caused by the drug - said: "Because it's legal, young people think it won't hurt them. The government needs to quickly criminalise it."
The South Londoner had never touched drugs until she tried Mephedrone with a pal at a club last June. As it was legal, she thought it was safe. "It tasted disgusting," she said. "But then I had a surge of energy and didn't fall asleep till the next day."
The biggest attraction was the price. Before, Holly would spend £20 on booze on nights out - but she could get high on a half-gram of Meow Meow for just £5.
She started taking it every weekend but after a few weeks had to drastically up the dose to get the same effects. Then she became so desperate for an instant kick she started SNORTING it.
By September she was taking THREE GRAMS every day - inhaling her first line as soon as she woke.
She said: "When I made it to class I couldn't concentrate and felt paranoid that everybody could hear my heart beating. I would also sweat loads.
"In my first year, I'd averaged a first, now I was averaging thirds. I'd lost two stone and my hair started falling out. And whereas before I'd been happy- go-lucky, it took all my strength not to burst into tears every day."
Holly went to her GP after the death of 14-year-old Gabrielle Price, who took Mephedrone at a Brighton house party last November. Thanks to counselling, Holly has been clean for four weeks but said: "Cold turkey was the worst thing I've ever gone through."
The Home Office said the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is investigating Mephedrone as a "top priority" - and will report back early next year.
DR HILARY SAYS...
MEPHEDRONE has only been around for 2 to 3 years but has already become the fourth most abused drug in British clubs.
It is in the same class of drug as amphetamines, and users feel elated and energetic - rather like speed. It's quite addictive so people want to take more and more.
But it has severe side-effects like paranoid hallucinations, and makes people do things they wouldn't ordinarily do.
It has also been associated with several deaths - the first of which was in Sweden. In the UK it claimed Gabi Price's life - and will no doubt be banned here. But the longer we drag our feet, the more people will suffer.
By Tom Latchem & Hannah Barr
February 6, 2010
News of the World