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Sinister new drug on our streets: Mephedrone turns users violent and police warn - this could kill 22 January 2010 By Sarah Kelly
A NEW drug menace has hit Calderdale – and police are warning it could kill. Mephedrone, also known as Meow Meow and M-CAT, is being taken by teenagers across the district as an alternative to Ecstasy.
Police say its use emerged after several arrests for violent crimes over the past few weeks.
One of the side effects of the legal drug, which is marketed as plant food, is aggression. Chief Inspector Mark Allsop, of Calderdale police, said: "The drug has come to light in Calderdale over the last few weeks.
"We're finding it is being used by people in their late teens to early 20s who are experimenting.
"The message is that it can cause serious damage to health.
"We want to warn people before there are any deaths."
Mephedrone, pictured above, can be ordered over the internet and comes in powder, tablet, crystal or liquid form. The drug has been banned in several countries, including Norway and Finland.
"Just because something is sold legally it doesn't mean it is safe," added Chief Insp Allsop.
"Mephedrone has severe side effects. Users have been extremely violent and displayed signs of mental instability.
"Other side effects include nosebleeds, anxiety, paranoia and over-stimulation of the heart and nervous system.
"This is a dangerous substance and one that is not intended to be ingested into the human body.
"I urge people to completely avoid it."
Dr Graham Wardman, Calderdale's director of public health, said: "We would like to reinforce the police warning that these are dangerous substances. The effects of drug use can be devastating to those involved and their families.
"If anyone is concerned about their substance use, whether this is 'legal highs', alcohol or illegal drugs, they should contact Calderdale Substance Misuse Service – adults on 01422 397300 or young people on 01422 258800."