A NEW drug has come to the attention of Manx police.
Police authorities confirm that they have intercepted a white powder which has tested positive as naphyrone.
Naphyrone, also known as NRG-1, energy 1, rave or pond cleaner, is the latest designer drug to hit our shores. It is far stronger than mephedrone and belongs to a family of drugs called cathinones.
Cathinones occur naturally in an African plant named khat, which is commonly chewed by some people to extract its dopamine content.
Chemists have synthesised the active component, which is the key ingredient as pushers create new drugs by making small but important changes to chemical formulae to get round the law.
The UK Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire announced on July 23 that naphyrone had become a class B prohibited substance.
Potential users in the Isle of Man should note that as a result the super-strong party powder is also illegal to import or possess in the Isle of Man from that date.
In addition to the ban, police are warning people buying party drugs from internet that they may be getting mephedrone – also banned class B substance. In fact, unwitting partygoers are being hoodwinked into buying numerous concocted compounds by unscrupulous internet traders who know that the average person simply couldn't distinguish between differing highs.
The Drug Advisory Service website (DASH) advises caution in all instances. For example, naphyrone is more toxic than chemicals that are chemically similar like mephedrone. In other words, users of mephedrone taking the same dose of NRG-1 could have an overdose.
Both naphyrone and mephedrone are now controlled class B drugs. Police can now arrest and prosecute for possession or importation. The maximum sentence in the Isle of Man for possession of a class B drug is five years in prison.
Detective Inspector Terry Stephen from the drug trafficking division said: 'At this moment the advisory council is moving to stem the problem of "legal highs" by developing future proof legislation. It will be a blanket type solution, to overcome the changing chemical formulae.
'I would like to underline that people buying drugs never know what they are purchasing and anyone, unwitting or not, found in possession of mephedrone or naphyrone will be dealt with the full rigour of the law.'
The 'blanket legislation' referred to by DI Stephen is an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Bill 2010 which will give the Department of Health the power to immediately specify any product or substance to be listed as a class C controlled drug for a maximum period of a year. The bill is awaiting royal assent and should be passed into law shortly.
Naphyrone's reported effects include restlessness, detachment, blurred/twitchy vision with pupil dilation, jaw-grinding, fishy-smelling perspiration and increases in heart rate.
By RICH ASHCROFT
11 August 2010
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