Banning the drug mephedrone may not have deterred users of the former 'legal high', according to new research released.
The research by Queen's University Belfast, part of a cross-border study on the use of the substance in Ireland, comes after mephedrone was outlawed earlier this year.
The drug hit the headlines because it was legally available yet had been blamed for a series of deaths.
The research was led by Dr Karen McElrath, who said: "This is one of the first studies into mephedrone use in Northern Ireland since it was made illegal earlier this year.
"The findings suggest that the ban did not have a significant impact on those who already used mephedrone, at least during the two-month period that followed the ban."
The interviews with 23 mephedrone users took place in May and June in the aftermath of the decision to ban the drug.
The participants were aged 19 to 51, about half of whom (12) were female.
The Queen's team said 19 of those who took part in the study were employed, and most occupations were affiliated with business, trades, the service industry or the public sector.
Mephedrone was made illegal in the UK in April, and in the Republic in May this year.
Dr McElrath said: "We are keen to develop this research further and to compare our results with a similar study conducted in Waterford prior to the ban on mephedrone in the Republic of Ireland in May 2010.
Monday, 4 October 2010