Young 'gambling with their lives' by taking new drugs
POLICE have repeatedly warned users of "legal highs" they are gambling with their lives.
In March 2010 the legal high mephedrone – nicknamed 'Bubble' – was banned. Since then police in Plymouth have gone on to seize an increasing quantity of the class B drug.
It was quickly replaced by more "legal highs" such as NRG and methoxetamine, which has a number of "street" names including mexxy and MXE.
Online sellers would describe it as plant food or bath salts, with many websites emphasising it was "not for human consumption".
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
According to the government drugs awareness website, Frank, there is very little evidence about the long and short term effects of methoxetamine, although it is closely linked with 'dissociative anaesthetics' like ketamine and PCP, with similar effects.
It states that the main effects of MXE include:
Feelings of euphoria, warmth, 'enlightenment' and being detached from the world around.
Feeling restless and on edge, feelings of extra energy.
A feeling of 'floating away'. Feeling completely detached from your body and surroundings, putting yourself in danger of accidentally being hurt or being hurt by others.
Other dissociative effects can develop, even a severe form of dissociation, catatonia, when someone is awake but doesn't respond to or interact with anything.
Involuntary eye movement, loss of balance and poor coordination and slurred speech.
As with 'Bubble', health authorities and emergency services across the UK began to recognise an increase in cases where revellers were under the adverse effects of MXE.
Following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the Home Office made methoxetamine illegal. On April 5, just four weeks after the death of Grant Mace, MXE was placed on the temporary banned list for 12 months while the ACMD decide whether it should be permanently controlled.
It is now illegal to sell or supply MXE, including giving it away to friends. It is also illegal to possess MXE for the purpose of selling it. Possession for personal use is not illegal, though police may still confiscate and destroy it.
While there have been no confirmed deaths from MXE, nobody knows the long term risks of using it.
In April this year, Det Con Stuart Payne, Drugs Liaison Officer told The Herald: "I think the biggest drug issue currently in the city is youngsters who are willing to try new psychoactive substances when they don't know what they really are."
In response to the banning of MXE he said: "There's always another two or three versions in its wake. That's the big danger because these drugs are not yet defined as illegal, some people think it is legal and thus safe. Young people appear willing to take the risk, to gamble with their health and possibly with their lives."