Dundee University Students Association has come under fire from the Dundee Licensing Forum for allowing a club night to be hosted in the students’ union which, the forum says, glamorises the latest fad in recreational drugs currently sweeping the country.
Forum convener Colin Rattray told the Tele the Bubbles! night, which took place on Saturday, had been advertised on giant posters throughout the city centre and said the organisers were clearly taking advantage of the name to promote what was really a foam party.
He said, “We at the forum take this very seriously and were disturbed to see these posters throughout the town, as it immediately highlights the name of an alarming new drug, which many teenagers and young children would see and recognise.
“There has been a lot of comment made at forum meetings lately from Tayside Police and NHS Tayside about the upsurge in the drug’s popularity.
“Bubbles, or mephedrone to give it its proper name, is being used more and more frequently across Dundee and the region, mainly by teenagers, but also children as young as twelve.
“It is really irresponsible for the students’ union to be allowing this night to be promoted as something that can glamorise the drug, and to have these posters across the city centre.
“They can say it is a foam party organised by an outside promoter and is nothing to do with the drug, but if so, why not call it a foam party?
“This was clearly an attempt to use the current popularity of the drug to entice people along to their event, and it shows poor judgment on the part of the union’s entertainments committee to allow the promoter to call it by that name and display it through the town.”
Mr Rattray said the issue was made even more significant by Sheriff Norrie Stein’s comments at the weekend, when the Arbroath sheriff warned it was probably only a matter of time before somebody died in the area as a result of taking bubbles.
He said he was becoming concerned at the spread of the drug around Angus and added that, while mephedrone is the principle ingredient, it was of most concern that traces of class A drugs, including ecstasy and cocaine, have been used to “cut” the drug.
Dundee University Students’ Association President Andrew Smith today defended the event and said there was no connection between the bubbles theme and the party drug.
He said the publicity posters for the event had been produced months in advance when the drug’s profile in the city was much lower.
He said the theme had simply been taken from the ultra-violet bubbles, which were sprayed over revellers and were a “fundamental part of the night”.
However, Mr Smith accepted that some words could be misconstrued or taken out of context and he said DUSA would bear that in mind in future.
He said, “I don’t think anybody who went along to the event could possibly have left under the impression there was any connection between our event and bubbles the drug.”
Three weeks ago, NHS Tayside, The WEB Project, Tayside Police and drug and alcohol group Addaction sent out a clear warning that anyone who takes bubbles is putting their health in danger.
A statement read, “Over the weekend (November 21/22), five people in Dundee suffered non-fatal overdoses after taking bubbles. While all of them recovered, two of them were hospitalised.
“Police in Tayside are taking the problem seriously and, although mephedrone is not currently a controlled drug, possession can still lead to arrest as the home made bubbles can vary in content and subsequently lead to a more serious charge. The very clear message is that this substance has not undergone any clinical studies and there is a lack of knowledge about what short or long term effects it may have on people who take it.”
Mephedrone is not a banned substance and drug dealers hide behind the recreational drug’s dual status as a plant fertiliser, which means they can’t be prosecuted for selling it. That’s despite a ban in several countries across Europe and the club drug being linked to the death of 14-year-old Gabrielle Price in Brighton earlier this month.
The Dundee Licensing Forum is made up of representatives of Dundee City Council’s licensing board, Tayside Police and the city’s licensed trade.
December 17, 2009
Students under fire over bubbles night