Chris Grayling says there is "a very strong case" for banning "meow meow" drug
It was the main story on the Today programme and the splash in today's Sun; the death of two young men from a drug known popularly as "meow meow". Its proper name is "mephedrone" and is legally marketed as a plant food.
Carol Cooper, "Sun doctor", explains:
"It is popular because it's legal and easy to buy. The drug gives users hallucinations and makes them feel really excited. But it's extremely addictive so people might buy a lot of it expecting that it will last for a few days, but end up taking it all in one go. Meow meow can cause nose bleeds, dilated pupils and teeth grinding. It can also give you palpitations. Because people take a lot of it - and often take it with other drugs such as ketamine - it can also cause blood vessels to narrow and bring on a cardiac arrest."
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has this morning said there is a "very strong case" for banning the drug:
“We think there is a very strong case for banning mephedrone and other so-called ‘legal highs’. There is mounting evidence to suggest these drugs are doing real damage to people’s health. An incoming Conservative Government would mount an urgent review of these substances with a view to adding them to the list of banned substances.”
11.30am: Some comments in the thread below suggest that the Tories are jumping on a bandwagon here. Nonsense. Chris Grayling and Shadow Home Affairs Minister James Brokenshire are actually hosting a long-arranged summit on drugs like mephedrone later today.
4.45pm: Statement from CCHQ:
"The Conservatives are planning to introduce a system of temporary bans on new drugs that can give so-called "legal-highs" while health issues are considered by independent experts. The move follows mounting concern over the emergence of new drugs like Mephedrone, which are being widely and legally used despite emerging evidence to suggest they may pose a serious health risk. The measure was discussed at a summit of drug experts held by the Party today. Also at the meeting was Maryon Stewart, mother of the medical student Hester Stewart who died after taking the drug GBL which was legal at the time of her death. The Government was criticised for taking eighteen months before deciding to ban it. The Conservatives are planning immediate bans of up to a year to allow a full assessment to be carried out of the impact of the drugs, and they say there is a very strong case for other new drugs like Mephedrone to be banned permanently.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said:
"We have been warning the Government for some time about the risk posed by so-called "legal highs". It's now much too easy for an existing drug to be slightly reconstituted to make it legal, and it takes too long to decide whether or not it should be banned. We should be able to ban these new drugs temporarily until there is a proper assessment of the risks they present, and then do so permanently for those that are shown to be dangerous.""