Legal amendments against the designer drug mephedrone, known on the streets as miaow miaow, have not yet been enacted although new drugs, some of which are said to be three times stronger than cocaine, are already emerging as the new ‘in thing’.
Mephedrone is a designer drug, marketed on the internet as plant fertiliser but commonly used by party goers locally. The drug has so far been banned in a good number of countries across the world including Israel, Denmark, the UK, Norway and Sweden. It has been available since before Christmas time.
Sources said amendments have taken so long to be enacted because authorities were doing their best to ensure the ban does not prompt a series of derivatives of the drug to enter the country. Reports on sections of the media last month said that mephedrone and all similar products will be made illegal. However it is difficult to legislate against designer drugs in general because their components are different.
In an interview with our sister paper The Malta Independent on Sunday last June, the head of the anti-drug squad, Neil Harrison, had said that 40 to 50 per cent of drug users at parties were using mephedrone. The drug was banned in the UK in April but shortly afterwards, new drugs, mostly synthetic chemicals, emerged and started being advertised across the web as ‘miaow replacements’. Among these is the drug marketed as bath salts and said to be not for human consumption – the name of which this newspaper is withholding for responsibility’s sake. The drug does not yet seem to have come to Malta.
According to Metro, dozens of British people have been treated in hospital after taking a new “legal high” linked to the death of a 24-year-old man.
Back in June, Mr Harrison was hopeful that a decision on whether mephedrone was already covered by legislation and, if not, to be included, was to be reached “in the next few weeks”. Up until June, 4.264kg of the drug, in the form of a yellowish powder, had been seized for research, and 13 people had been questioned over its possession.
Packets of 500mg of the new ‘bath salt’ drug are available at the mere price of €24.99. Cheaper prices were also reported. The same website says the packet supplies users with seven to 10 doses but some claimed the substance to be so addictive that they had used it all at once.
Information on its chemical compounds is very scarce though some foreign newspapers are reporting that the mixture contains MDPV as well as other stimulant drugs.
19 August 2010
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