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  1. chillinwill
    A ban on synthetic stimulant mephedrone has come into force across the UK.

    The drug and its related compounds are now Class B substances after measures were rushed through Parliament.

    The Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) had recommended a ban, saying the substance was "likely to be harmful" despite incomplete research.

    But the leading medical journal The Lancet has questioned the ban, saying it had been rushed and politics had been allowed to "contaminate" science.

    Mephedrone, also known as Meow, Bubbles and MCAT, is derived from cathinone, a compound found in a plant called Khat.

    The laboratory-produced drug has a similar effect to amphetamines, ecstasy or cocaine. But it also causes nausea, palpitations and vomiting.

    The drug has been linked to a number of deaths but there has been no conclusive scientific proof yet that it has been responsible for any of them on its own.

    Under the drug classification rules, anyone found carrying Mephedrone could face up to five years imprisonment - while dealers could receive up to 14 years.

    The Association of Chief Police Officers urged forces to target dealers, saying that it had no intention of criminalising young people who had been using it.

    In the days running up to the ban, police officers and local councils approached retailers who were selling the drug asking them to voluntarily surrender supplies.

    A number of websites that were selling the drug have also closed down.

    Lancet editorial

    But in an editorial timed to coincide with the ban, The Lancet medical journal said the manner in which Mephedrone had been dealt with signalled a "collapse in integrity of scientific advice in the UK".

    It said the advisory council had been still discussing its own draft report into Mephedrone-like substances when its chairman briefed the home secretary on a recommendation to ban them.

    "Equally notable was the very quiet release on the same day of the ACMD's other report… a detailed progress report on recommendations made in 2006 on hazardous drug use," said the journal.

    "The report contains some potentially unpalatable conclusions on tackling young people's problems, including not enough being done on alcohol and tobacco, as well as calling for a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

    "Yet this report received no media attention or a response from the Home Office. Instead, it conveniently got buried under discussions on the legal status of mephedrone."

    The Lancet said: "It is too easy and potentially counterproductive to ban each new substance that comes along rather than seek to understand more about young people's motivations and how we can influence them."

    Two members of the committee quit in quick succession during the row over the Mephedrone.

    One, Dr Polly Taylor, said she feared the government would interfere with the council's scientific advice. The second, Eric Carlin, said there had been no proper discussion of the effect a ban would have on the behaviour of young people.

    April 16, 2010
    BBC News


  1. chillinwill
    Mephedrone drug illegal from today

    PARTY drug mephedrone is banned from today and anyone caught selling it could be jailed for 14 years.

    Those found in possession of the “legal high” could also face a criminal conviction and up to five years behind bars.

    Mephedrone, also known as meow meow, bubble or drone, is now officially a Class B controlled drug, alongside substances like amphetamine and cannabis.

    In the lead-up to the ban, Cumbria police encouraged individuals and businesses to hand the substance over to them – before they committed a criminal offence.

    Neighbourhood policing teams have also been personally handing out letters to businesses that had been supplying mephedrone, to warn them of the impending change in the law which, if ignored, could see them face very serious consequences.

    Specialist drug testing kits will also be rolled out in police stations across the county to allow officers to detect mephedrone quickly and effectively.

    Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “Cumbria Constabulary is dedicated to tackling illegal drugs, and the harm they can cause in our communities. Mephedrone’s dangers have been recognised nationally and its new Class B status reflects the serious effects it can have on people’s health and lives.

    “We have been working with our partners in the health service, local authorities and charities to raise awareness and educate young people on the dangers of mephedrone, and as of today, those who take or sell the drug can expect to be dealt with robustly.

    “All illegal drugs are unsafe, can ruin individual’s lives, pull families apart and cause huge damage to communities.

    “We hope a nationwide ban on mephedrone will deter people from experimenting with it and send out a clear and simple message – mephedrone is illegal and dangerous.”

    April 16, 2010
    North-West Evening Mail
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