BBC News is reporting on the release of a film that will be used to educate teenagers in schools throughout South Wales on the dangers associated with drug mephedrone. The problem is by no means restricted to this region and it is hoped that other parts of the U.K. will take up the opportunity to use the film.
Until April 2010 mephedrone was considered a “legal high” but given its potency and powerful side effects the drug was reclassified as a Class B substance. At the Providence Project we have seen at first hand the rise in use of the drug during the last six or seven years. Unfortunately the reclassification of the drug has done little to curtail its use. Most users tend to be in the 18-25 age group and the drug is commonly referred to as Mcat or Meow Meow, giving it the appearance of just being a harmless party drug. In fact it can be highly addictive and some of the more serious side-effects include damage to the heart and brain as well as causing depression and other mental health problems.
The statistics given in the film are based on research in South Wales but our experience is that similar results will be found in many parts of the country. Dan Rowley, a drugs worker at The Kaleidoscope Project in Newport, found that by the end of 2012 mephodrone problems had gone from an insignificant figure to account for nearly half of all his referrals. At The Providence Project we have seen the effect of the drug on the user and their family and the story is often very similar regardless of background or regional differences. Most of the young people we treat tell us that the drug was easily available at clubs or parties and it was cheap enough, at £10-£20 per gram, to be more available than drugs like cocaine. Many tell us that children are offered small quantities of the drug for just a few pounds and the film has evidence of this.
Fortunately we have developed a treatment model for the young people that come to us with mephedrone problems, and the environment in which we deliver that treatment, along with our strong ethos of peer support, has proved very successful. If you feel that you, or someone in your family have a problem with this drug, or any similar substance, you can call us free of charge for a confidential chat at any time to talk about drug rehab or alcohol rehab.