THE PARENTS of a teenage boy addicted to the 'legal high' mephedrone have warned others not to be "blinkered" about the drug.
Their call for a ban on the drug has been backed by local MPs and the drug, nicknamed 'bounce', 'bubble' and 'meow meow' is now being examined by the drugs body which advises the Government.
In yesterday's Herald, the teenager described how he became addicted to 'bubble'.
His parents, Ian and Katy their names changed to protect their identity, spoke of their son's addiction and how they have coped.
Ian said: "Pete was brave and told us everything. We'd noticed lots of things changing about him. We went to see the doctor initially, but he couldn't prescribe anything for him at night. Pete had become nocturnal, and wasn't sleeping.
"We had to Google it to find out about it. The more we heard the more scary it was."
They both became dismayed at his usage, initially forcing him from the family home, but taking him back after they learned he had turned from user to courier to dealer.
Ian said: "He was a mess, really ill. We took him back and tried to get him to come off it, but the withdrawal was bad.
"One time we had five hours of screaming, writhing around the floor, frothing at the mouth, fitting. The only way we could get him to calm down was to promise to give him money to go and get some tomorrow.
"He went 12 days and nights without, but it was hurting him. The doctors couldn't give us anything so he had to go cold turkey on his own."
Pete had also suffered burns from the drug to his tongue, gums, nose and throat.
In one example of general lack of knowledge about mephedrone, Katy recounted a conversation she had with a police officer.
She said: "The officer admitted he had stopped a bunch of kids who were buying Baby Bio and drinking it. They'd heard mephedrone was a plant fertiliser so thought it would have the same effect.
"Pete has been honest with people, asking them for help, but there's nothing out there to support them [mephedrone addicts]."
"Parents can't be blinkered. They can't be arrogant and say 'oh my son would never do this'. People have got to wake up, because it's everywhere."
Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, said he sits on the Home Affairs select committee, which had recently looked at mephedrone.
He said: "This has been mentioned by experts, that it is a drug which needs to be classified or regulated. I hope the Government listen to the body that advises them. I would hope they make a sensible decision.
"I think it's time the Government opposed it and urgently."
Alison Seabeck, MP for Devonport, agreed with Mr Streeter, saying: "This has become a serious issue on the streets of Plymouth. I will write to the Home Secretary to look at this urgently. I would wholeheartedly support the move to ban this drug."
Earlier this month, Home Secretary Alan Johnson signalled "legal highs" could be banned in the near future.
A report by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is expected to be handed to the Government in early March, and a decision made afterwards.
In a response to questions, Mr Johnson said the matter was "an absolute priority" for the council.
He said the possible ban would cover not just mephedrone, "but the whole generic group, so we will not be fooled by the manufacturers shifting around."
A spokesman for Harbour said there was a noticeable increase in referrals for under 18s using mephedrone.
They said: "We are aware there are people experiencing significant difficulties with drug use of this kind. As with all drugs this can have a serious impact on the quality of family life. Access to the right information is available for parents and carers to help them decide how best to respond. One of the protective factors for young people that will give them the best chance of a good outcome is to maintain good links with their families and carers. We will work with the individual who are using any drug to provide a treatment plan to address their specific needs'.
February 18, 2010
This Is Plymouth
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Parents' warning over mephedrone after addicted son