Mephedrone: just because its legal does not mean it is safe

As ever i was listening to Stephen (with a PH) Nolan on the radio driving in to work - the traffic is abysmal and it is tough getting there before 9.

I am a glutton for radio punishment, which is why i enjoy listening to the show - really gets the blood pumping for the rest of the day.

Yesterday, but most especially today, it almost did the reverse.  My blood ran cold and I really felt uncomfortable listening to interviews he did with mothers and siblings of young people who have been taking a drug compound called mephedrone.

I am a bloke.  Blokes don't get emotional.

I am married.  My wife puts up with me.

I am a dad.  I want to protect my kids

The Stephen Nolan show made me emotional over people i had never met, never heard off, and probably never will.  The interviews mad me irrationally worry about my kids, especially upon hearing that 6 year old kids were getting hooked on this legal high. They have yet to reach Primary School - but i still worry (I did point out it was irrational).  I don't want my wife or myself have to go through what the parents of those kids on this trashy drug went through.

A lot of politicians are on the ball with this one.  The issue was discussed by the Health Committee today in Stormont and the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, has called for it to be banned too.

Mephedrone it is currently not illegal to possess, but it is against the law to supply or advertise it for human consumption. Mephedrone can cause anxiety and paranoia (feelings of being persecuted), heart palpitations and fits or seizures. If snorted, it can lead to severe nosebleeds. Like many substances regular use can lead to the development of a compulsive habit.

Now from what I have been picking up from Facebook and Twitter is that Mephedrone is a compound drug, and if it were to be made illegal all the dealers would have to do would be to change the chemical make-up of the compound and it would be legal again.

I believe the drug has to be made illegal, as well as any close chemical compound.  Perhaps, Government, in conjunction with medical professionals and experts in this field, can immediately ban the present compound whilst putting together a strategy that will make it very difficult for unscrupulous dealers to continue selling a similar compound.

If you want to help I would suggest at least registering your concerns at the Number 10 e-petition and join the Facebook group.  Raise it with your local MP or MLAs, or Local Councillors.  There needs to be action taken and quickly.


Gonzo on 1:28 am said...

Making it illegal will drive it underground. This will probably have the effect of making it seem more desirable and increasing use.

However, what will the users will be taking will be now cut with more impurities, as has happened virtually with every other drug made illegal.

I understand where you're coming from, but I would definitely expect an increase in abuse and deaths if it's made illegal.

Ivor Whitten on 10:27 am said...

I take your point Gonzo, very much to heart.

It will take a co-ordinated strategy including the recognition that it needs to be banned, or controlled.

Just like the stop smoking campaigns, it will also require investment from the relevant Departments to work with people on the ground to educate young people about the real danger of mephedrone and similar drugs.

I think it gave me the heebeegeebees as i have two daughters and, probably too easily I suppose, was able to really empathise with the interviewees on the Stephen Nolan Show.

Ultimately, it is Westminster that will have to make the legislation to control mephedrone.

It will then be down to our wee place here to implement and support the required infrastructure for health, education and enforcement.

Paul on 3:47 pm said...

Depression, paranoia, violent or suicidal tendencies, head pains, stomach problems, liver problems, breast cancer, etc etc etc – Alcohol

Cancer, tumors, skin discoloration, etc etc etc – tobacco

Weight gain, heart problems, skin liaisons (spots), tooth decay, diabetes, etc etc etc – chocolate and fatty food

Do we ban all of these as well?

If the drug is identified as having a quantifiable risk, then control it. If it is no more risky than the above, then help those impacted by it but dear lord it’s time we stopped pandering to mass hysteria.

I’ve a daughter too. I worry about these things as well. I worry about teen pregnancy, but the solution isn’t to castrate all teenage boys (though I would consider it when the time comes…)

Ivor Whitten on 5:11 pm said...


I see your point - also well made (like Gonzo).

I also see your point regarding boys :)

I don't think it is a matter of banning everything that is bad for us. Education is a big thing in this too.

I think with the case of mephedrone, is it very much a chemical compound (specifically for growing plants!!) that is getting into young people's and primary school children's hands, right now.

It is very destructive on the body and the mind. It seems to be highly addictive and causes serious mental health problems.

I see where you are coming from - but we can not sit back. Better to be proactive on this issue - it is a banned/controlled substance elsewhere such as Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Germany to name a few.

Maybe the mass media hysteria, while painting it as an epic disaster, could be opening our eyes at the moment to its potential.

This could be debated for a long time!

Sozzals on 11:42 pm said...

I must lead a very sheltered life - i've never heard of Mephedrone until now (pretty much like most drugs, I've no experience of anything like this).

My partner's Dutch. Proof that co-operation with the law, and sometimes not making such a big deal about drugs can sometimes work. In Holland, cannibas is fairly controlled. The Dutch as a nation have one of the lowest drug-using rates in Europe, it's mostly just for tourists... but it's the fact that it's not "legal" but "accepted" and controlled to a certain extent, that makes it less appealing. My partner's dad is a cop - he abhores drug use, even cannibas use, as much as parents here. It's generally not that acceptable to smoke it in a family environment.

Without knowing much about the topic, I guess illegal drugs are much like legal drugs. Some people can handle their alcohol, some people can't. Some people become alcoholics, some people don't. Some people can handle certain drugs and use it for recreational purposes in the same way as alcohol.

I watched this pretty moving vlog from a guy walking around the streets of Dublin on youtube (Part 1: ). It really disturbed me, kept me awake at night for weeks. Fear that something like that could spread here - i mean, it's probably already here, but not on the same level as Dublin. We (in Norn Iron) have always been pretty behind the times when it comes to a lot of drugs, mainly because of the troubles (one good thing that's come out of them?).

I don't really know where I'm going with this...the whole topic really scares me. I ended up having these nightmares about wandering the streets of Dublin and being stabbed by a heroin needle and getting addicted myself and ending up like those people.

Ivor Whitten on 3:19 pm said...

Thank you very much for your contribution Sozzals. I appreciate it.

I think it is a discussion we have to have more off. Understand the issue, educate society and discourage drug use.

My real concern is the corrosive potential of this substance

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