Following its connection with the deaths of two Lincolnshire teenagers, the so-called ‘legal high’ mephedrone, otherwise known as MCAT or Meow Meow, has been banned since Monday, April 19th.
These were the eighth and ninth deaths in Britain that were linked to the drug, however there has been no conclusive proof that the drug is the direct cause of the deaths.
Since last summer, popularity of the drug, which can be snorted as a powder or taken in a pill, has increased significantly and is currently the fourth most popular drug in the UK. This is possibly due to its accessibility since it was available to buy on the Internet as plant food.
The change in the law has faced some backlash, claiming it will not help the situation in any way. Fears are that now it is illegal, drug dealers may be cutting it with a variety of harmful substances,therefore, similarly to cocaine, the purity of the powder will decrease.
Following research into the dangers of mephedrone it has now been classified as a class B drug, the same level as cannabis and speed, and anyone caught in possession could receive up to 14 years in prison.
Earlier this year The Linc spoke to students who were dealing the drug, and covered its rise in popularity.
A user of the drug described the experience as a combination of ecstasy and cocaine. “Your body starts to tingle all over, and every feeling is somehow stronger, you just feel ‘up’.
“It was just so easy to get, everyone seemed to have it with them, so I tried a couple of lines and liked it, so I started taking it more regularly.”
The drug has been linked to several side effects, such as nose bleeds, hallucinations, sickness, blood circulation problems, anxiety, short-term memory loss, increased heart rate, and depression.
“I’ve never really had any bad experiences, just a few nosebleeds, but I know people who have been really ill after using it, they were being sick for like an hour,” he said.
Legal highs have been around for years, and new ones crop up all the time. The banning of mephedrone could lead to a rise in people using other legal drugs.
Alternatives to the drug are already being produced. These include naphyrone and ‘Sub Coca’. Naphyrone is currently being assessed by government drug advisers, who are looking at potentially banning it, however Sub Coca is very new and has yet to be assessed.