Pubdate: Sat, 27 Mar 2010
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2010 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Andy Tate, Parliamentary Correspondent


The legal high mephedrone will be banned next week,  Gordon Brown has

The prime minister gave his strongest hint yet that the  drug, which
is linked to the death of 46-year-old Hove  man, will be outlawed
immediately after he is handed a  crucial report from advisers, on

Mr Brown suggested the Advisory Council on the Misuse  of Drugs would
recommend that mephedrone - also known  as meow meow - should be made
a Class B drug.

The move follows a string of deaths of people who have  used the drug,
including John Sterling Smith, who  collapsed at a party in Arundel
House, The Drive, Hove  last month.

His friends and paramedics tried to revive him but he  died from a
cardiac arrest - believed to have been  triggered by mephedrone
poisoning - before he could be  taken to hospital.

Mr Brown told The Argus the deaths were a "tragedy for  these young
people and their families".

He added: "Whenever we receive the report from the  Advisory Council
on the Misuse of Drugs - and I believe  we will receive it on March
29, so only a few days away  - we will be ready to take action.

"We cannot allow a situation to develop when people are  not aware of
both the risks attached with this and also  the legal measures that
can be taken to deal with it."

Normally sold as a white powder, mephedrone produces  effects similar
to amphetamines and ecstasy, including  headaches, palpitations,
nausea and cold or blue  fingers.

Use of the legal high has become widespread in Brighton  and Hove over
the past six months, with children as  young as 12 or 13 reported to
be taking it.

Last month Paul Ransom, lead accident and emergency  consultant at the
Royal Sussex County Hospital in  Brighton, and Princess Royal Hospital
in Haywards  Heath, said he feared about the long-term effects of
meow meow after seeing a huge rise in teenagers  admitted after taking
the drugs.

Dr Ramsom said: "This is a real concern because we  don't know exactly
what long term or even medium term  effects it could have, because it
is so new." 
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