A MOTHER who became addicted to a legal high has spoken out about her terrifying experience.
Her addiction to mephedrone has left her homeless and in need of re-building her life.
The tearful 40-year-old Islander — who asked not to be named — said: 'My son's been arrested, I've lost my home, my face and body is disfigured by open sores and my family has fallen apart over the last three months.
'I wanted to speak frankly about my experience so other people know exactly what they could be dealing with.'
The escalating abuse of legal highs by people in the Island was reported recently, with drug agencies reporting 32 new cases of mephedrone use last month alone, and 22 cases between June and October.
On Friday, Health Minister Eddie Teare MHK revealed his intentions to outlaw the drug in the Island.
Mephedrone is sold legally over the internet as plant food for about £10 per gram. It is illegal in Israel, Norway, Finland and Sweden but easily available here.
The addiction of the mother we spoke to started three months ago.
'My son told me about a new designer drug doing the rounds,' she said. 'He said it made him feel euphoric, full of energy and empathy — it sounded like a ball. He said it was perfectly legal so I thought great, why not give it a try, it can't be that harmful.'
Describing her first encounter with the drug, she said: 'We racked up some lines at a friend's house, snorting through a rolled up £10 note.
'It burns your nose and you get a sickly feeling as the powder slips down your throat. Then we went out walking for about six hours, stopping to do a nifter (sniffing powder from the corner of a coin) now and again. It was great, we had a lovely time.
'The energy levels went through the roof, I spent hours cleaning the house with sweat pouring out of me. It was like someone had poured a bucket of water over me.'
But with prolonged usage very unpleasant symptoms started to appear.
She developed terrible constipation, while her fiance had bladder problems.
UK Government-sponsored drug users' resource — talktofrank.com — describes mephedrone as 'compulsive to use and creates a state of psychological dependence'.
'We were using it three to four days a week, staying awake all night,' the addict we spoke to said.
'All the time we were taking more and more sniff. Then the paranoia kicked in.
'We started believing we were being watched, first by the police and later by werewolves or even secret agents — thinking back it was ridiculous but at the time it seemed very real and absolutely terrifying.'
Regular usage causes rashes and open sores.
She said: 'My son (aged 21] developed gashes all over which he became obsessed with, constantly picking at them with tweezers. I developed sores on my face, chest and bottom which I am now using antibiotic cream to clear up.'
Things became so hectic that the household came to the attention of the police, who raided the house.
Sergeant Juan Clague said: 'The police are working with government bodies to find ways to rid our community from the grip of this stuff.'
This sentiment was echoed by the mother, now clean for three weeks.
'I warn teachers and parents to be vigilant,' she said. 'Look out for tiredness, irritability, rashes and gurning. You think you can put it down, but you can't. You think it's safe, but it isn't.
'I thought I had control, but I didn't. Now I have to re-build my life from scratch.'
Mephedrone is said to bring on a similar high to MDMA or amphetamines. It is commonly known as meow, merph or bubbles, but 'sniff' in the Isle of Man. It is a white-ish powder, produced in China.
By RICH ASHCROFT
December 22, 2009
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Legal highs wrecked my life, says mother