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Should legal drug mephedrone be banned?

08:41 UK time, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The government has promised to "take any action" needed over the legal drug mephedrone after the deaths of two teenagers. Should the substance be made illegal?

The drug is known by various names, including "M-Cat", "MC", "mieow", "meow", "4MMC" or simply plant fertiliser. It is normally a white or yellowish powder, which is snorted, but can also be obtained in pills and capsules.

Schools are increasingly concerned that children as young as 12 are trying mephedrone. Ministers have asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to examine the dangers of the drug and report back.

Should mephedrone be banned even if it means some children getting a criminal record? Have you used this legal drug? What is the best way to tackle substance abuse in our schools?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

What is mephedrone?

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    No, it should not be banned. We can't ban everything! If it is eventually banned, children will still try other things, things that could still harm them.

  • Comment number 2.

    Quiet news week? Of course we need to protect vulnerable and impressionable people from themselves. And there will be criminals behind the supply of it, of course.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ropes, are not banned children & adults have used that in the past; even it they didnt mean to to themselves harm....so this shouldnt be banned either.

  • Comment number 4.

    If you ban this substance, kids will find something else to abuse - any foreign substance added to the body chemistry will, one day, kill someone, what would you do,ban everything from codeine to field mushrooms? Humans are, by their very nature, experimental and addictive and there are going to be casualties as a result. It is the suppliers/ importers that should be hit, and hard, but as usual, the full force of law will inevitabley land on a few stupid kids on street corners.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was under the impression that Ministers where supposed to govern the country and not rely on advisers. It is quite simple a Minister stands up and says its banned until such time the awaited report is produced when a further decision will be taken. Those that want to embroil children into the shady world of drugs and supply plant food to them can then have the option of going to court and ask for a Judical Review of the Minister's decision. I've got a pound that says they wont go to court. I've got another pound that says there isn't a minister in this government that's brave enough to take the decision.

  • Comment number 6.

    Maybe children should again be told the dangers at school, before it is used. There were lots of chemicals I used when at school ... I KNEW they were dangerous, I didnt need Teachers, to tell me that.

  • Comment number 7.

    On Radio 4 this morning it said that work on a report into this substance had stopped. Why ? Because our esteemed Government sacked the head of the committee, Professor Nutt, who was dealing with it ( and several of his colleagues resigned in protest ), because he spoke out against Government drug policy last October. So now the committee does not have the right people to deal with the report. Well done Labour - keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 8.

    No. If it's banned then people turn to illegal drugs instead. Mephedrone is 98% pure and should be regulated to stop contaminated batches like this harming poeple. It was a contamination, not the drug itself, that has caused the deaths of these 2 boys. Illegal drugs cannot be quality checked and we have no idea what they are cut with. You cannot stop people taking drugs, so why not regulate what they do take and at least make sure it is clean. Around 100 per year die from paracetamol but that is never reported. It's hypocrisy.

  • Comment number 9.

    Of course people should be stopped from supplying this to children, but why should adults be prevented from putting whatever they want into their own bodies? And how many people do you think have died from alcohol, tobacco, and Paracetamol during the time that only two people have died from mephedrone?

  • Comment number 10.

    Baning drugs has never solved anything. It's just made them more expensive and "cooler".

  • Comment number 11.

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  • Comment number 12.

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  • Comment number 13.

    Any deaths are a tragedy but maybe the government need to look at why people feel the need to get so high? Fed up? Bored? The feeling of no future? I agree that Methedrone is an unpredictable drug and due to the change in drug laws and alcohol laws has helped create this problem. Many drugs like ecstasy and MDMA were quite underground and only clubbers who mainly drank water and took them responsibly. Since allowing alcohol in to clubs, people have been out all night drinking and then taking drugs without fully knowing or understanding what to expect or how to deal with it. People are responsible for their own actions! The more the government try to control a substance the more underground it is pushed and the more money dealers make and the more they can afford to source the next big high! Basic economics: Supply and demand.

  • Comment number 14.

    A handful of tragic deaths have occured as a result of the use of this legal drug. I know of another legal drug which has a much higher death toll associated with it, it is called Alcohol. Deaths are in the tens of thousands a year, every year, and affects a broad spectrum of ages. It is a huge drain to the health service, not to mention the financial and social costs of alcohol related incidents such as violence, drink driving etc. Why are there not calls to ban alcohol?

    It's also common knowlege than banning things do not stop people obtaining and imbibing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Of course it is sad that two boys died unnecessary. The truth however is that whatever people say these two people were rather stupid. You cannot get tanked up on alcohol take methedrone and then methadone and not expect some consequences. Sorry that’s just stupidity and banning such a drug drives the trade further underground and becomes more attractive to younger people.

  • Comment number 16.

    The best way to deal with mephedrone, assuming that it is dangerous, would be ban its supply or resale except through specially licensed pharmacists, who would sell it only in small quantities to adults. Clear and accurate information warning of the risks involved in taking it, would be included in the packet.

    The price would include a fools tax, designed to discourage the drug's use and allow sensible people to enjoy reductions in other taxes.

  • Comment number 17.

    3 People have died from this so it has 'obvious dangers' and needs to be banned. 3 People died from smoking or alcohol in the time it took me to write this post.
    Let people take responsibility for their own actions. If you take something and it kills you it's your fault. Don't do it again.
    Legal bans should only be imposed on things which adversely affect other people.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think that Education is the way forward here....Basically you can get high from Petrol, Nail Varnish, Sheep dip etc etc...You cannot possibly ban everything !

  • Comment number 19.

    This drug has been available for months, unfortunately it was only a matter of time until there would be a death toll attributed to it. It is a destructive drug and measures to protect people from it should be enacted, because at the moment the police are totally powerless to prevent its circulation, but more importantly people need to be educated about the risks of taking Mephedrone.

  • Comment number 20.

    I feel very strongly that this substance should be banned and as quickly as possible. I have a teenage son and I have spoken to him and his friends who all seem to think the term 'legal' equates with 'safe to take'. Peer pressure is very strong and of course they all want to be cool and seen to be in with the crowd, not so cool when people are dying though!

  • Comment number 21.

    Since when has banning anything made it unavailable or unexciting to kids? I would have thought the best deterrent was the possibility that it might kill you. Leave it alone. It will, like all kids fads, pass.

  • Comment number 22.

    It sounds as though this tragedy may have been the result of a 'dodgy batch' as the three people all knew each other.

    I can't see that banning it will make the stuff any safer, or stop people from taking it. - People still willingly take heroin and everyone with an ounce of sense knows thats a life destroyer.

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Question: What business is it of mine what another human being chooses to think, say, do, ingest, inhale, produce or consume if that other human being in so doing does not cause any harm to any other human being than themselves?

    Answer: None. None of my business at all.

  • Comment number 26.

    No, definitely not, stop trying to save everyone. If they ban this they will find something else to take or do.

    Sorry to sound callous but if these so called highly educated people (that’s what we are told of our modern youth) have the risks of taking dangerous or un-prescribed drugs /substances explained to them and they igrnore that advice then perhaps we are better off without them as they will only encourage others to try their silly games, whilst their deaths may save many many more.

    We are talking about a very small number of people sad that it is and very distressing for the parents but over 3000 people die on our roads every year and tens of thousands are injured but we would ban cars?

  • Comment number 27.

    So, the government, against all independent scientific advice moves cannabis up a class, while allowing school children to legally take a deadly substance? Sounds like a severe case of 'stoopid' to me.

  • Comment number 28.

    All presently banned drugs should be available on prescription, & free if necessary. World Governments should buy up 100% of these drugs & pay all worldwide growers a good price. This would eliminate the drug trade at a stroke, allow monitoring of all drug addicts via their prescriptions and also enable treatments to be given. It would also lead to a reduction in crime, a large amount of which is to get money or goods to fund drug habit.

    It's radical, but the present ban enforcements are not working. The money saved from enfocement could be diverted to treatment & legal supply. It will come in the end as the battle as it is is being lost and the cost is becoming prohibitive.

  • Comment number 29.

    What has this drug got to do with the deaths of the two teenagers????

    More sensationalism by the illinformed media.
    The police have no idea as yet whether this drug had anything to do with the deaths of these kids, they are still waiting for the test results to come back. They may have overdosed on heroin for all we know.

    How about some truthful reporting instead of headline grabbing lies.

  • Comment number 30.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 31.

    What's the point in banning it? The manufacturers will just change it slighly and rename it like they have with every other legal high that they ban. It does no good. I noticed the media went from 2 teenagers dying after taking it to may have contributed to thier deaths, hype hype and more hype.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think the problem is more due to mixing drugs with alcohol. Alcohol is used and abused far more than M-cat. I have noticed quite a bit of inconsistency in the news reports i have heard and read about the science of the drug: It is not actually a plant food/fertilizer, it is just labeled as that to get round laws.
    We have heard alot about the side effects and deaths, which in my experience are not common but not many have talked about the actual effect of the drug and why people are taking it - It produces a feeling of euphoria, makes you happy and chatty and want to dance and it makes you feel absolutely amazing. The reason more people are taking this rather than MDMA for example is that it doesn't have a bad comedown/hangover the day after. It has few/no negative effects if taken in moderation and without mixing substances.
    I do not condone the use of drugs, but i do not agree with banning of substances - patent them and then fine anyone who makes them without a patent.

  • Comment number 33.

    If safer recreational drugs such as cannabis were legal, no-one would bother seeking more dangerous, legal alternatives.
    The current drugs policy is dangerously stupid. It not only puts the production, supply and control of these substances into the hands of criminals, and criminalises users, it also results in people seeking out dangerous substances when there are more suitable, safer - but illegal - alternatives readily available.

  • Comment number 34.

    How about updating the social education in schools to include new drugs that are seen in pubs and clubs around the country nowadays. It's more beneficial to advise than to prohibit.

    If these boys were told of the dangers then there is nobody else to blame.

  • Comment number 35.

    Why is there the necessity for anyone to use any so called recreational drug?

    What are the users lacking in the real world that they have to be in an un-natural hyped up state to enjoy themselves?

    Can anyone answer this please.

  • Comment number 36.

    It is not news that there are substances around that are still legal but potentially very dangerous to consume. Drugs for medical purposes have to undergo years of testing before they are licensed, and even then many of these still have very undesirable side-effects.

    So why is it that somewhere in the educational process young people are not made aware of the dangers of trying these new 'legal high' substances? It doesn't really take a genius!

    And of course, the answer is NOT to legalise all drugs - This would give no guide at all to what is dangerous. But it might, for example, make sense to put every new substance that comes onto the market in a special "untested" category initially (This should take days not years), and require the websites selling this stuff to give appropriate warnings.

  • Comment number 37.

    If youngsters are prepared to indulge in any drug abuse then they should be fully aware of what can happen with such abuse. You cannot stop some youngsters experimenting with sex, smoking and drugs but they should all be properly warned about the risks. There used to be some very explicit films shown to new Army recruits which were enough to put one off sex for life and I daresay there are similar films about smoking and taking drugs?

  • Comment number 38.

    Yes, because banning drugs has stopped the purchase & use of them for years now hasn't it?

  • Comment number 39.

    Let's get the facts exactly right, these teenagers 1) Drank heavily
    2) Took the legal high Mephedrone, 3) Took Methadone - in that order.

    Where did drug no.3 come from, is it illegal outside of prescription to registered addicts to help them come off heroin? It's sad that the media have siezed on the legal high as being the sole reason they are dead, when there are two other drugs in the mix, one legal and definitely a known killer, the other methadone (that's me genuinely asking about methadone, I don't know its legal status and am not trying to be funny).

    Clearly this cocktail is a killer combination, but banning the legal drug instantly and right now when we basically don't have space in the jails for everyone who could be dealing it, isn't practical - do you want dealers getting 2, 3, 5 year sentences one in and one out, or 10 to 15 when they can be contained?

    For once the Government is right to get more information on this drug rather than reacting to media events (something we criticise them for all the time) - and build some more jails if they really want to talk tough and follow through on it, something we haven't seen since they came to power.

  • Comment number 40.

    Criminalising various substances only creates dangers and crime, which leads to fear.
    But thats what governments want.

  • Comment number 41.

    No, it shouldn't be banned. No drugs should be banned: history has told time and again that prohibition is counterproductive. Most organised crime is funded by illegal drugs, and that would disappear overnight if all drugs were legal.

    If foolish people want to take mephedrone and it kills them then that's a tragedy for the families concerned, but remember that they had a choice. People who are victims of drug-funded organised crime don't necessarily have that choice.

  • Comment number 42.

    If we read further than just the headlines of this tragic story we find that these unfortunate young men are believed to have taken a number substances that day of which mephedrone was just one. Another was alcohol but there doesn't seem to be any calls for that to be banned?

    The sooner we face the fact that prohibition of drugs does not work the sooner we can manage the drug problem in the UK more effectively. Prohibition creates an array of other social problems of which associated criminality is the most damaging. If we take away the crime we take away the market for the criminals.

    Also for those who claim that various softer drugs are 'gateways' to harder drugs - think about this - people obviously take drugs whether you ban them or not. Banning means that those who wish to take drugs recreationally then seek out the sordid drug dealer - otherwise known as the 'gatekeeper' and the gateway you fear is then opened. Nice one!

  • Comment number 43.

    ' The substance is known by various names including.. "mieow", "meow" ...'

    Oh drat! I've been calling it 'meeow' all this time. Silly me! Why can't we just call it 'miaou' and eliminate the confusion?

  • Comment number 44.

    Why are head teachers calling for a ban?
    Their job is to educate, so why don't they do just that?
    Or shall we ban everything that could ever do any harm to anyone or anything?
    I despair when I hear of teachers abrogating their responsibilities so readily!

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    having just looked mephedrone up as i didnt know what the effects of it were yes it should be banned, halucinations, anxiety, paranoia reminds me being told of the drug LSD taken in the 60's. i have seen to many friends suffer from the effects of drugs, ban this one so no more youngsters end up like some of my friends or even worse the one and only Ozzy Ozborne.

  • Comment number 47.

    How is this drug obtainable...?? If it is legal then questions have to be asked regarding its previous clinical tests, etc. People don't die from other legal drugs (most of the time) so where and how do they buy this substance, never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago.

  • Comment number 48.

    somewhere deep in the DNA of Brits there is an abiding compulsion to control others.
    so much so that i think they believe that a law passed in GB will stop the entire world from what they see as a problem...i mean the drink laws and the smoking laws and the rest of the behavior modifying legislation ...has stopped the entire world from smoking and drinking and what ever..so influential we are
    i don,t know how any of the continentals have the timerity to come to GB and don,.t get prosecuted and jailed, coz they are above the drink law limits.
    we can,t believe that entire cultures are based on drinking wine from almost birth.....foreigners huhhh!

    we are a laughing stock

    so whats this "lets make this drug illegal" gonna achieve?
    a few more muggings and murders to pay for the drugs that can,t be legally bought.

  • Comment number 49.

    I understand that the police have said that the two teenagers who died after taking this drug had been drinking and taking other drugs. If that is in fact true, what is the justification for banning this substance? Is it KNOWN, or even very strongly suspected to cause death? Is there any scientific proof of that?
    Anyone inclined to ban just to be on the safe side (i.e. without real evidence) should remember that 2 children are killed EVERY WEEK whilst being carried in cars which are involved in road accidents. Banning children from cars would be much more justified.

  • Comment number 50.

    If people are stupid enough to use these drugs let them. I have no sympathy for idiots who willingly abuse their bodies in this way. Should it be banned NO. If this is being dealt in schools then the schools should step in and stop it. Should we all stop using knifes in our kitchens because some people hurt themselves with them?

  • Comment number 51.

    "47. At 10:06am on 17 Mar 2010, noname wrote: ... people don't die from other legal drugs..."

    You are kidding, right?! Have you heard of Alcohol? Tobacco? You know these kill people, don't you - LOTS of people? Also Paracetamol and Valium, which are legal drugs kill quite a lot of people as well - about the same number as all the illegal drugs put together in fact.

  • Comment number 52.

    The sensationalist reporting by the BBC this morning was appalling. Firstly there's no evidence (yet) that the drug played a part in the tragic deaths of those two boys. Get your evidence before broadcasting it as fact! Secondly, because of ease of supply of this drug, it's going to be just as easy to get hold of if made illegal as it can be purchased from abroad. Thirdly the BBC have managed to publicise this drug in a way that the manufacturers could not have dreamed of!

    I actually think we have a golden opportunity here to prove that legal drugs could have a positive effect. This generation of kids could grow up knowing what the consequences of drug use are, as opposed to hiding it under the carpet.

  • Comment number 53.

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  • Comment number 54.

    Many many things can be used incorrectly and cause death, the emphasis shouldn't be on banning them all but educating people not to use them incorrectly

  • Comment number 55.

    So sad that these two young people, with so much future potential, got so intoxicated by alcohol that they took other 'substances' that may have led to their death?

    Young people always feel 'immortal', whether drinking, taking drugs or driving and it's a tragic and nasty trick of Nature that all who survived their youth should remember?

    The criminal gangs who focus on new ways to make cash on other people's children should be hunted down and sentenced as multiple serial murderers!

    Condolences and deepest sympathy to all parents whose children are targeted by, and so far, untouchable murderers?

  • Comment number 56.

    I do not understand the knee jerk reaction to ban anything which people seem to enjoying on a large scale. the media can find highlighted incidents of vulnerable groups hurting themselves, however this , and any decision of this nature should be taken from sound scientific advice - not by tabloid ranting and picking one chemical out of what was a cocktail of possibly 3 different drugs (methedone, alcohol). Whilst little research has been performed into mephedrone, MDMA (ecstacy) is a similar drug which whilst illegal has been virtually proven to be significantly less harmful than alcohol. Mephedrone undoubtably needs to be clasified and restricted to protect children, i have yet to hear a plausable arguement to why an informed and educated adult should not have the right to consume a chemical - most likley far less dangerous than alcohol. We need David (la la la we cant hear you) Nutt!

  • Comment number 57.

    Is this knee-jerk journalism? The guys are believed to have taken Mephedrone *amongst other things*....how do we know that Mephedrone even *contributed* to their deaths? They may have washed it down with a gallon of rat-poison.

    The drug situation in this (and many other) countries is farcical. There are drugs like Ecstasy and Cannabis, which have medically researched documented effects, and are deemed by experts to be less dangerous than something like alcohol, which is legal and socially acceptable. Surely it would be better to have people using these things than being pushed into experimenting with 'legal highs', which have had little or no clinical testing, and have unknown long-term effects.

    Given the choice between safely produced, legal ecstasy, and an unknown also legal substance, made in an unregistered lab by possibly unqualified people, to mimic ecstasy at a similar price, which would people (on balance) go for?

  • Comment number 58.

    It's 'mephedrone'. Half the posters here can't even be sure what they are ranting about. Or should I say mephedroning on?

  • Comment number 59.

    Just like so much of this government's moronic legislation, "If we hide the problem, it won't be a problem any more".

    There is so much rubbish that has been swept under the carpet, it looks like a mountain. Making things such as drugs, smoking and prostitution illegal DOESN'T WORK! As soon as you cover over it up, it pops up somewhere else.

    The only way to manage any problem such as this is to put a strict handle on it. If drugs are legally manufactured and prescribed properly it would eliminate most of the problems. That way it protects the users, eliminates the criminal element and they can even tax it!

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think the issue here is that we have a society with a problem with cheap thrills.

    Whether its alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex, etc... we have people who will do things with risks. There are deaths from many things. But reality is that taking these drugs is nothing more than selfish desire to enhance a bored mind.

    The risk is Death and people still take that risk. Personally I believe that removing them from society to a rehab site worse than our comfy UK prisons to help them break the need for drugs and the glamour associated with it.

  • Comment number 62.

    Once again, surely parents should be teaching their children the difference between right and wrong. Just because a drug is legal does not make right. Cigarettes are legal but parents teach their children not to smoke.

    If the children then persist in using these things, then surely their intelligence is not required in our society and they will not be missed by the masses.

  • Comment number 63.

    They should ban methadrone, that way if the drug goes underground, people will have a choice of cocaine, ecstacy, ketamine etc. And if they have that choice they are much LESS likely to choose methadrone. As a ex heavy drug user myself I know that legal highs and prescription drugs are much more dangerous then any of the above drugs I've mentioned.

  • Comment number 64.

    Sigh here we go again, media whipped up hysteria, as The Drugs Advisory chap said this morning, this drug has to date killed no one, and has not seriously hurt anyone. I'll add that anything in excess is dangerous, as we know kids in raves have died from drinking too much water! Meph is harmless compared to alcohol and tobacco. I wonder how may will die this weekend from alcohol abuse?? And as for smoking, that legal high kills 80,000 a year........think about it, 80,000 and the government make money out of the sale of it! The government are in fact drug pushers and the drug they sell eventually kills 1 in 3 users - may sound dramatic but that's what it makes them. Common sense is in very short supply where drugs are concerned as Professor Nutt has discovered.

  • Comment number 65.

    It would be so much more useful to society if those in a position to do so would concentrate more heavily than they currently do on how the behaviour of people who have chosen drugs as a lifestyle impacts upon the quality of life of the reasonable silent majority who chose not to take drugs.I for one am fed up with the liberal left's constant emotional blackmailing of society.We have choices.Let people who want to ruin their own lives by choice do so.But let's have a serious attempt at keeping dealers away from our children starting with the tobacco and alcohol industries as well as with the underground drug barons.If we can sort the war lords in Afghanistan,we can sort the greed driven selfish evil that is allowed to affect innocent decent people in this country

  • Comment number 66.

    If you ban it will still be sold. There has been a warning that it could result in death if you take it so if teenagers carry on using it they know what may happen its up to them.

  • Comment number 67.

    Many young people need protecting from themselves, so yes, I would ban this substance, especially as children as young as 9 are reported to be users!

  • Comment number 68.

    No it shouldn't...

    A little known fact is that more people die from mis-prescribed drugs from the NHS each year than from all illegal drug overdoses put together.

    Maybe we should ban the NHS???

  • Comment number 69.

    How about banning the real killer drugs like smoking and alcohol? Of cause not, that would be stupid and would cause a riot. If people want to be stupid and poison themselves to death, let them. So long that is, they do no harm to others i.e. through antisocial behaviour, crime etc.

  • Comment number 70.

    The answer's simple, yet is constantly ignored - simply legalise the more popular stuff (cannabis, cocaine, opium etc), tax it, control its strength and turn it into a new revenue form. Because, and it's stupifying that this STILL hasn't got through to this government - PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK. Take a leaf out of Portugal's book, stop treating us like children, and let those who want to take drugs take them at their own risk.

  • Comment number 71.

    I`ve never used drugs, never seen the point in ruining my body with the rubbish.
    But I do not see how this can be controlled.
    Underage drinking/drug taking is common in most areas of the UK and at times it is simply ignored or judged to be the `norm` by the police/law.
    So what`s new?

  • Comment number 72.

    Nothing to do with the alcohol or methadone then? What if the boys had been drinking, taking methadone, and finished off with a glass of water? Would there be calls for water to be banned? If no "celebrities" had been caught cheating on their partners that day, I wouldn't be at all surprised...

  • Comment number 73.

    Why is the focus on what is legal rather than what is dangerous?

    A quick read of the article about this drug on Wikipedia (Side effects etc.) should be enough to worry anyone with any common sense. Mixing drugs is also well known to be dangerous.

    As far as the National Curriculum is concerned, a little background reading confirmed my worst fears as a parent. Throughout, drug education only falls within the non-statutory curriculum. There is effectively nothing at Key Stage 1 (too early?). At Key Stage 2 the curriculum seems to focus on "which commonly available substances and drugs are legal and illegal, their effects and risks". At Key Stage 3 and 4, the focus seems to be entirely on illegal drugs (So what about the others?). This just doesn't seem to be giving our young people the right guidance. Why is this this? Is our education system run by a bunch of pot-heads?

  • Comment number 74.

    What a sad society we live in where a culture of drug taking is accepted in any way whatsoever. Banning drugs and other harmful things isn't going to make the problem go away, it only drives it underground where criminals can make even more money from the stupidity of others.
    Education isn't the answer because how many millions of people smoke knowing that it's harmful to them? Even government taxation doesn't stop people from smoking and despite the many deaths; smoking bans and even isolation, people still smoke.
    There is no answer to human nature; we're a self-destructive animal who knows how long we'll live so we try to cram as much "living" into what time we have. Sadly some of life's experiences lead to death but you can't legislate against it.

  • Comment number 75.

    No. Mephadrone is a plant food marked "Unfit for Human Consumption".
    If Humans want to eat plant food that is clearly not suitable for them, they might be better removed from the gene pool.

    Perhaps we can also get back to the point raised by teenage marijuana psychoses as well, that developing teenager brains are not suited to drug experimentation.

  • Comment number 76.

    Surely the headteachers would be better employed providing some really convincing resources for PHSE lessons to EDUCATE their students about the dangers of chemically-assisted entertainment.

    Since when did banning something stop people choosing to indulge? It's never worked before and it is unlikely to this time.

    Ensure people have the information to make an informed choice as to the substances they may use.

  • Comment number 77.

    The facts of these two deaths ( not mentioned in your HYS leading article ) are that these two people took mephedrone, alcohol and then methadone.
    Given that lots of people take mephedrone and don't die, the fact that both these people died is surely POSSIBLY because of an overdose of methadone especially as methadone mixed with alcohol is a potent depressant of the CNS.
    However rather than look at the full facts the media assumes the cause of death was the mephedrone and calls for a ban.
    Probably mephedrone should be banned but so should sensationalistic, half true stories in the media.

  • Comment number 78.

    We should certainly ban cars as they caused almost 4000 deaths last year and well over 100,000 injuries.

  • Comment number 79.

    Do we know yet what actually caused their deaths? Because surely we need to know that before any appropriate action to be taken? Until we know precisely what caused it, banning this substance two people died whilst using it would be like banning food in case people choked on it.

    If it was a contamination of the drug, that's a case for better regulation of production.

    If it was an overdose that's a case for better labelling and education.

    If it was a case that the drug was taken incorrectly (after all, perfectly safe drugs can be deadly if administered incorrectly), then that's a case for clearer instructions and training.

    If it was an allergy (which is perfectly possible, a certain amount of people would drop dead if they took a single aspirin after all) then that is a tragic and unfortunate death, but not a justifiable case for widespread bans.

    If, and only if, it was proven that the drug would be deadly to a significant amount of people simply because of how toxic it is, regardless of enjoyable effects, should a ban be considered.

  • Comment number 80.

    I really don't think banning Mephedrone would help.
    As with other drugs illegal or not, people would still take them.
    You can try and educate people and make them aware of the risks of drug taking, but inevitably people will always decide if they are prepared to take the risk and use drugs...its their choice.

  • Comment number 81.

    No, they should make dope, LSD and Ecstasy legal, uncut and readily available. They are tried and tested highs and relatively safe and fun.

    Kids wouldn't then have to resort to this toxic kitchen-sink rubbish for a buzz.

  • Comment number 82.

    There is an NHS report online that establishes a link between alcohol consumption and methadone (opioid) overdose. Apparently, if you consume alcohol is reduces the amount of methadone you require in order to overdose. It was reported that these two lads had taken alcohol, mephedrone (mcat) and methadone (opioid) ... so its just as likley that the deaths where caused by methadone overdose. Lets get some truth and facts into this story before mass hysteria takes over. It is , of course, terrible to loose anyone to drugs, maybe if they had more information on what they where doing they might be still here.

  • Comment number 83.

    Well, I've been around a while - I remember LSD before it was outlawed - and I can assure you, you can go on banning things ad inf. because young people will simply experiment ad inf. until they find some new "high".

    Be careful when you ban stuff - better the devil you know, as they say.

  • Comment number 84.

    Prohibition doesnt work. In fact it is a major cause of problems with drugs. The current legislation certainly leads to a contempt for the law. Those nasty untaxed drugs. Dont take those. Take these, nice legal taxed drugs. Brilliant. More people will die from prescription drugs than will ever die from marijuana, or mephedrone. Let alone the figures from alcohol and tobacco. But stay on your high horse middle england, with your cigar and glass of whisky in hand. Hypocrisy of the highest order. Prohibition gives the power to an unregulated market controlled loosely by criminals. Cos guess what people, that dealer will sell your 14 year old kid whatever drug he/she wants. No questions asked. A government drug policy that is based on historical precedent rather than scientific evidence. Ha, could this be any more ridiculous. Of course there are a lot of people with vested interests who can lobby effectively. The drug companies for example. the drug companies who are trying to replicate the THC from marijuana for use in a drug they can sell. So they certainly dont want a drug with many proven medicinal benefits being legal to buy or grow do they? The social impacts of such drug pale into insignificance when you just take a look at alcohol. Those stoners who go home and beat their wife cos they have had too much. Those stoned drivers running people over. Those stoned people who fight each other in the street over something like a taxi queue. Oh wait, they're using a legal drug. Which is much better for society than those illegal ones. Legalise all drugs, control their distribution (i.e ID checks etc), tax them, and let people take a bit of personal responsibility for their own bodies.

  • Comment number 85.

    I was exposed to Mephedrone long before it hit the mainstream media (over 2 years ago), and know people who still use it regularly. These people while taking excessive amounts however, haven't suffer any ill-effects as they are fully informed of the substance and it's purity (one chap is a chemist). Every time you see a report in the papers about somebody dying, you'll notice some common elements:
    - Age (under 18, an age where of course all toxic substances pose a far higher risk)
    - Substance was taken with alcohol, as others have said a far more dangerous drug than 4MMC (or cannabis, etc)
    - Substance was mixed with other drugs, notably ketamine. Frankly anyone stupid enough to mix alcohol with 4MMC with ket should expect something terrible to happen.

    Prohibition doesn't work, education does - above all know your limits.

    Secondly to the above, banning this substance (and the others, M1, MDPV etc) will only achieve 2 things:
    - the creation of a black market and the criminal elements that currently don't exist
    - the further mutation of these drugs to get past the law once more, except the new compound may be far more dangerous than this one

  • Comment number 86.

    It would be more productive if all 'celebrities' that cover a cross-section of popularity with young people, got together and produced their own advertisements on ALL substance abuse?

    Government and schools have the least effect as they are cynically regarded by kids, and parents too, as never being young or stupid?

    Many successful celebs, and their PR machines, give the 'impression' that their rock n roll lifestyles and financial fortunes were achieved by abusing 'substances' and living dangerously?

    Well, predominately, this image sells to impressionable young minds - always has, always will? So, it's time to get over this 'imagery' that its cool to go to re-hab when your rich and famous?

  • Comment number 87.

    This same argument is discussed, in various formats, every couple of months on HYS - usually as a knee-jerk response to death or injury.

    I continue to believe that this government have a completely wrong view of our drug issues. Firstly, for those with blinkers, people die every day from a multitude of causes, and often there are underlying causes that are only discovered after the tragedy. So a couple of deaths, while saddening, is not proof of a bogeyman. Secondly, we have a partly logical, partly emotional system for classifying drugs, where alcohol and tobacco are legal while other, less harmful and less addictive drugs with fewer long-term side-effects are classified as illegal. Thirdly, by criminalising many of the "street" drugs we allow the black-market to operate and make a tremendous profit at the expense of users and the Treasury.
    My solution, as has been put forward many times, is that many of the drugs should be decriminalised and sold, under licence, in special cafés. This will allow users to be certain the drugs haven't been cut with undesireable substances and removes the black-market, as well as gathering taxation for the country.
    Methodrone is still considered legal, like alcohol, but is sold openly and freely to anyone. this is where the irresponsibility lies, that there are no reins at all on the sale of this drug, and our government only seem to be able to offer an all-or-nothing solution.

  • Comment number 88.

    I far as I'm led to believe this is a legal substance. The two young people who died, according to media reports had been taking excessive alcohol and other substances. To blame this substance directly for the deaths is premature and irresponsible. Does this mean that any legal drug, over the counter preparation, etc should be banned or made illegal because the user of the substance inadvertantly killed themselves because they failed to follow the guidelines? Of course not! The case needs to be investigated fully and properly. In this case the findings will probably be inconclusive. I would fully support the ban of any drug if it were found to be the sole contributing factor in any death, but then how would that effect the alcohol industry? Again, another knee-jerk reaction by government to media led public hysteria. Government (any) is quite willing to act upon any opportunity to disempower the public and create a totalitarian state with the illusion of personal freedom.

  • Comment number 89.

    Refreshing to see such a reasonable attitude towards the situation amongst most of the posters here so I'll just add my own personal experience of Mephedrone.
    I'm 30 years of age, university educated and don't drink or smoke. I do like to go out with friends and to help the evening while those around around use alcohol to get the party swinging I take a resonable amount of "mieow mieow."
    Unlike my past experiences with alcohol I feel a great sense of empathy and love to those around me. Because I don't cane it like a chav I don't get a fast heartbeat (except while dancing, but then I would anyway) I don't snort it like coke so I don't get nosebleeds and at the end of the night I take a supplement to replenish the serotonin used and have a good nights' sleep.
    I've been doing this about once a month for over a year now, I'm still alive, not moving onto heroin and manage to keep a full time (but boring) job.
    When I drank I got into fights, annoyed a lot of people, destroyed relationships, missed days off work with a hangover and generally behaved like an ass.
    So no, it shouldn't be banned. If we're talking harm to society then by that same reasoning booze should be banned but lessons from history tell us what a ridiculous idea that would be.
    Educate, tax and regulate. It's still too early for the tragedy at the weekend to influence any legal moves(and lets not forget the victims were drinking until the early hours of Monday morning.)
    Sadly I hear that Mandelson is sticking his oar in (funny, didn't think he was Home Secretary or a Health Minister) so I guess it'll be banned before the summmer (if Labour get in of course ;) )

  • Comment number 90.

    "Lord Mandelson said the legality of the drug mephedrone would be examined "very speedily, very carefully" following the deaths of two teenagers."

    Who on earth voted for this guy to make such statements on behalf of the government? No wait... NOBODY did.

  • Comment number 91.

    Having looked at the story it hasn't yet been established what actually killed these two boys and very little mention of the fact they had been out drinking all night. Isn't it possible it was alcohol that killed them?
    And yet already the bandwagon to ban mephedrone is underway to prove the government is "tough on drugs". If they want to reduce harm by banning substances, start with alcohol and tobacco! After that, maybe they could ban crossing the road, kids die from that too you know.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hasn't the government learnt anything? It is a well-known fact that many children and teens try illegal drugs for the buzz and for being a rebel, won't making M-CAT illegal just encourage more to use it because it's illegal? What we should do is 1) regulate it so only plant-growers can buy it and 2) educate people about the dangers of it.

    We should also clearly show that mephedrone is not created for human consumption

  • Comment number 93.

    Two young men have died, and six of their friends who had allegedly also taken Mephedrone at the same time have attended hospital. For all the very real dangers this substance has (mixing it with alcohol is very inadvisable, yet that is what is reported to have happened in this case), this is an alarmingly large adverse reaction. Use of Mephedrone has been widespread in clubbing circles for the last year, and especially the last six months, yet nothing like this has ever been reported before. That suggests that either what they took wasn't actually Mephedrone, or that it was contaminated with something else. Mephedrone sold by "above-board" suppliers on the internet is more than 99% pure, so what buyer should get is effectively not "cut" with anything else. There is, however, the inherent danger that some unscrupulous people will buy in bulk, cut the substance, and then sell it on to others who - even though it is legal - don't want to risk an audit trail on their own debit or credit cards by buying it direct themselves.

    One thing that nobody seems to be talking about is that the reason Mephedrone use has reached the level it has so quickly is because the supply of MDMA (Ecstasy) pretty much dried up throughout 2009, and now is virtually impossible to obtain. The irony is that it is the very lack of the much villified MDMA - which in reality is relatively safe and its potential dangers well known to users, and so largely avoidable - that has led to the explosion in popularity of a very poor substitute that seems to have a much greater harm potential.

  • Comment number 94.

    Like it or not its human nature to do drugs, its been this way through out human history, illegalizing everything is a very costly, pointless and naive way of dealing with drug issues. In a society where the 2 biggest killer drugs are legalized and taxed, it makes illegalizing all other drugs, even the class A ones a joke, when you compare the annual death counts against alcohol and tobbaco.

  • Comment number 95.

    The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) says a ban on the legal drug mephedrone should be considered following the death of two teenagers. Do you agree?

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    If deaths are the criteria for banning "drugs", then surely the stupefactive, alcohol, should be at the top of the list. It does no good to individuals and families, makes our town centres fearsome places to go of a night, fuels crime, kills people and clogs up our A&E departments at weekends with vomit. Not nice at all.

    Come on - let's ban it, Mr NAHT.

  • Comment number 96.

    Having taken mephedrone regularly about once a week for several months, and other drugs previously, I can definitely say that it has the same potency as illegal class A drugs such as coke and ecstacy and also a definite addictive quality for people who dont know when enough is enough. I do, and find it easy to include in my busy professional life.

    Because it is uncut it is much more attractive to recreational drug users than street bought drugs and even when it is eventually banned and surely made class A, it will be eagerly sought out.

    The current problem is its attraction to young people and easy availability. So the ban is inevitable and I for one am sad that so many occasional or 'responsible' recreational drug users who like nothing better than a good bop on a saturday night without the numbing effects of booze, will lose mephedrone.

    No doubting that the websites selling it will have a boom time over the next few weeks as afficionados stock up against the ban!

  • Comment number 97.

    What because banning heroin, cocaine, cannabis etc etc worked out so well? Banning things just makes it seem more attractive and pushes people into the hands of organised crime. Maybe we need to look at other alternatives than just banning or taxing things ?

  • Comment number 98.

    Yes of course - as viewers of campaigner Jeremy Kyle (yes, that Jeremy Kyle) will already know.

  • Comment number 99.

    Just legalize all drugs, as crime would go down and society would be a safer place if we just gave junkies their drugs, as for all those people saying drugs kill, well heres a newsflash, we all die eventually.

  • Comment number 100.

    This puritan government will ban anything they can before even looking at any evidence. Why is Grand Vizier Mandleson pronouncing on this issue seeing as he's the business secretary? Isn't he too busy selling us out to his music industry / Hollywood friends?

    And how many deaths did alcohol cause over the last weekend?

 

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