New 'party drug' Mephedrone sparks warning
HARROGATE Police has issued stark warnings over a new legal drug after it hospitalised a 14-year-old boy and turned a young girl to prostitution.
The drug, Mephedrone, is normally used as a plant fertliser but has recently become popular as a party drug due to stimulant effects similar to Ecstasy.
Its use is rising sharply in Harrogate. A 14-year-old boy was admitted to Harrogate District Hospital after taking it and a young girl from the town had sex for Mephedrone cash.
Another person was mugged for money to buy it and police believe the drug was rife at a private party for Harrogate sixth formers.
Sgt Geoff Crocker, of Harrogate Police, said "It's a worrying picture that's beginning to develop around this drug."
As the drug can be bought legally, it is a big problem for police as they are unable to charge suppliers or youngsters in possession of the drug.
"There are established drugs networks who have picked up on it and are already supplying vulnerable teenagers with it," said Sgt Crocker.
"What concerns us is that we won't become involved until there's a death."
Sgt Crocker said concerned schools and parents were contacting police for advice on the drug, and children's homes were also reporting problems.
"At the moment what we are seeing is an increase in anti-social behaviour around groups using it," said Sgt Crocker.
"Teachers are seeing problems in classrooms because kids are unable to concentrate and are finding it difficult to control certain pupils using this drug.
"A number of parents have contacted us saying 'what can we do our child is on this they are uncontrollable?' and 'can we come and have a word with them'.
"We have got intelligence about who is supplying from both teachers and parents and pupils. In regards to actually dealing with the suppliers, the trouble is it's not illegal at the moment."
The drug, also known as MKat, Plant Food and Meow Meow, can be bought easily over the internet.
It is not among the several drugs known as "legal highs" recatergorised last week when Ministers moved to classify the substances, including GBL and BZP, to Class C after a recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).
However it is set to be reviewed by the ACMD this year.
Mephedrone can cause a range of side effects, thought to include nose bleeds and burns, hallucinations, blood circulation problems, rashes, anxiety and paranoia, fits, delusions, and taking it can lead to a heart attack according to experts.
Sgt Crocker highlighted that the long term effects of the drug are not yet known and could have a dangerous impact on health. "We haven't tested these things on humans," he said. "Anything that goes before NICE has to go through seven years of testing, yet kids are just quite happily trying it.
They are taking plant food to get high.
Insp Mike Woodhall, of Harrogate Police, added: “I can't believe that anyone would wish to take plant food, horse tranquilliser or any type of other similar substance for ‘recreational’ purposes.
“We do, unfortunately, get some deaths from time to time from batches of very pure or very dirty drugs in circulation. I would hate there to be a batch of deaths from people trying a new type of substance that is not designed for human consumption or use in any way.”
Last Updated: 31 December 2009 11:49 AM
Source: Harrogate Advertiser
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