People in Kirklees are being warned about the dangers surrounding a substance known as Mephedrone, with streets names being MCAT or Meow.
The Police, Kirklees Council and Lifeline -Kirklees are all supporting the release of a poster which is today (16/12) being distributed across the District.
Entitled ‘What’s getting up your nose’, it outlines some of the different names associated with the substance and also underlines the health risks involved.
The creation of the poster follows inter-agency concerns about the use of MCAT within communities and also a need to make people aware of its potential harm.
West Yorkshire Police’s Drugs Co-ordinator Bryan Dent says it is important to give people the information they need:
“MCAT is a substance which is currently legal, however; it is predominately used for plants and can have quite an adverse effect if consumed by a human.
“We know that this substance is often used by young people, particularly between the ages of 14 to 25. These posters are therefore designed to reach this particular generation and help them to make an informed decision.
“Police and partners in Kirklees will be placing them in various locations frequented by young people and hopefully they will take in the message.
“MCAT is often referred to as a ‘legal high’ and gives the impression that because it’s legal, it is safe. There are number of substances, which are not controlled drugs or illegal which can be abused. We would always advise against ingesting anything into your body which is not for a bone fide medical reason. MCAT in particular has the potential to damage both mental and physical health.
“In Kirklees, the Police work closely with its partners to address any kind of addiction identified within the community. Officers also undertake awareness visits to 'Head shops' throughout the District. Licensed premises do have responsibility and we will be clamping down on anyone found selling it for human consumption.”
“It is clear that substance misuse also has links to crime and anti-social behaviour and also an increase risk of young people failing in education. This is why it is so important that we address these issues in a co-ordinated partnership approach.”
Kirklees Councillor Peter O'Neill, Cabinet member for Safer Communities is backing the awareness campaign and said:
"Education about the dangers of substance misuse is an important part of the initiative which seeks to dissuade young people from taking substances which, though legal, can cause damage to their mental and physical health, and even death."
Chris Lawton of Lifeline -Kirklees said:
"As a provider we are increasingly aware of the issues presenting themselves in regards to MCAT use. The evidence base that surrounds the substances is still unclear, so we are urging people to be cautious. Inevitably our advice would be don't use it, however; if people are intending to use despite this, we suggest people follow simple harm minimisation guidelines such as testing in small doses before use to understand tolerance and effects on the body.
"We are also very much reminding people that just because it's legal doesn't mean it is safe.
December 16, 2009
West Yorkshire Police