A TEENAGER who has used the drug mephedrone and her mother have warned others to not be fooled by claims it is both 'legal' and safe.
The 18-year-old girl – who has spoken to The Herald on condition of anonymity – admitted she had taken the drug for the first time on Friday evening – the same day police seized what they believe is around two-and-a-half kilos of the drug.
She claims she has suffered paranoia attacks and sickness since taking the drug, and said one friend has become addicted to it.
She said: "I'm never going near it again because of what happened afterwards. My friends kept saying it was legal. I didn't know it was actually a plant fertiliser."
On Tuesday The Herald reported how mephedrone was now being found with increasing regularity in and around the city.
The drug – sold legally as plant feed – is currently unclassified but banned from being sold when advertised for human consumption.
Unfortunately, this has resulted in young people across the UK believing that as it is not a banned substance akin to amphetamine, cocaine or ecstasy, it is thus 'legal' and safe.
However, the recent death of a 14-year-old girl in Brighton and growing reports of youths being hospitalised as a result of taking mephedrone has increased police concern about the chemical.
The teen told The Herald she had attended a friend's flat on Friday evening where a group of youths snorted lines of the drug which has a variety of slang names including 'bounce', 'bubble', 'meow meow' and 'mad cow'.
The group then went out to the city and began drinking in bars and clubs before returning to the flat to take yet more mephedrone.
She said: "I'd heard about it through friends a few months ago, so I wanted to try it.
"It sounded good. I was told it makes you really talkative and happy and you don't have a comedown.
"But it's a lie.
"I've tried class A drugs – coke and LSD. So because I've done them in the past I thought this wouldn't do anything bad.
"I thought it couldn't be anything bad because it's not illegal."
However, the girl admitted that while it had some effect, the side-effects included "chewing the top off my lip", paranoia attacks and insomnia.
She said: "I couldn't go to sleep – it's taken until Monday to calm down.
"One girl in our group passed out and I've been told about a boy I know who's now fully addicted to it.
"The more I used it the more I wanted. If you don't keep taking it you feel you need it more.
"Afterwards I felt really ill and thought I was going to pass out. If people do more they'll feel even worse than me.
"I really think it should be a class A drug."
Her mother, who also spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity, fears the lack of classification means young people consider the drug to be safe.
She said: "After reading The Herald article I realised she was extremely lucky. I think my daughter has learned her lesson and I don't think she'll try it again.
"I had no idea about this drug until she told me about it this weekend. She just kept saying 'it's okay, it's legal'.
"But it's not safe – even though it's 'legal' as she says, it's not safe to use.
"Hopefully this will frighten other people into not using it."
The drug is currently illegal in Israel, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Psychiatrists in the UK have lobbied for it to be banned here.
One drug and alcohol action team in north England reports mephedrone's side effects include nose bleeds, nose burns, hallucinations, blood circulation problems, rashes, paranoia, fits and delusions.
December 3, 2009
This Is Plymouth