Force's stark warning over danger drug
POLICE have issued a stark warning about the dangers of the drug meow meow.
A senior South Wales officer has said the force has "serious concerns" about the rise in the drug and the effects it is having — and especially its association with violence.
Superintendent Phil Davies said there had been a "big increase" in its use in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot in the last year.
Police in Carmarthenshire have expressed similar concerns as the popularity of the drug — correctly called mephedrone — continues to soar, with Dyfed-Powys Police recording a 400 per cent rise in offences involving the drug in the county in the past year.
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South Wales Police Superintendent Davies, head of operational policing in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, said: "We have seen a big increase in the use of mephedrone over the past 12 months.
"We have serious concerns about people using it — it is a powerful stimulant, and it seems to be associated with increased levels of violence.
"It is being sold by some dealers as a 'party drug', but that is very far from the truth. Daily we have issues with people taking the drug — people are being arrested, others hospitalised.
"The drug is being taken by a cross section of people — and taken with alcohol it is a devastating cocktail."
The superintendent said he had spoken to colleagues in Bridgend and Cardiff, but the drug was only a major issue in the western half of the force.
It is understood one of the problems in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot is heroin users switching to mephedrone — the supply of heroin on the streets has been dramatically cut following the police's ongoing Heroin Ruins Lives blitz.
Mr Davies said the maximum sentence for possession of mephedrone was five years, and possession with intent to supply was 14 years.
"It is a Class B drug and it is illegal to have it, give it away or sell it," he said. "The drug culture is continually changing and you have to try to stay one step ahead. I would urge anyone with information on mephedrone to come forward — we will take action."