M-Cat 'contamination' probe as three people hospitalised
An inquiry has been launched into the possible contamination of a batch of the drug mephedrone after three people were hospitalised in Swansea.
Public Health Wales (PHW) said two of the three people treated after taking the drug, also known as M-Cat, were critically ill.
Tests are being carried out to see if the drug has been contaminated with bacteria or a chemical cutting agent.
Users who experience illness are advised to seek medical help.
PHW is working with South Wales Police, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board and toxicologists to identify any possible contamination.
Dr Jorg Hoffmann, consultant in communicable disease control for the organisation, said mephedrone use was often associated with bingeing or compulsive behaviour, which can cause users to take more of the drug than originally intended.
That can cause serious health consequences and the toxic effects could be similar to those from amphetamine use - although the effects may last longer, he said.
"It is very important from a public health perspective that any individual using or considering use is aware of the dangers associated with mephedrone, particularly of taking this drug over prolonged periods or in high quantities," he said.
Mephedrone, also known as meow meow, is a synthetic stimulant which was made a controlled class B drug in the UK in 2010.