'Frankenstein' drug meow meow 'screws the mind up'
A LLANELLI drugs worker has launched an ambitious campaign to reclassify a "Frankenstein drug" that is sweeping the town.
Alan Andrews, chief executive of Chooselife Wales, is determined to rid the streets of Llanelli of mephedrone, or meow meow as it is commonly known, after seeing the devastating effects it can have on users.
Mr Andrews has started an online petition in a bid to change the substance from a Class B drug — equal to cannabis or amphetamine — to Class A — the same category as heroin and cocaine.
To be successful, 100,000 people need to sign the petition within the next 12 months — and the Star is right behind those efforts as part of our own campaign, launched this week, to help tackle the town's growing problem.
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"It will be difficult, but if everyone put the link on their Facebook and just two friends signed it we could do it," Mr Andrews said.
"We might be a town that has not had the best reputation for drugs, but let's now be the town that makes a difference across the UK. Something has to be changed in the classification of the drug and the perception of it. There is a perception with young people that they wouldn't consider themselves to be a drug user and that it's an OK drug — then they'll try it for the first time. "If someone was asked after a few drinks to try heroin they would say no chance, but it's different with mephedrone.
"I'd put them in the same bracket because heroin affects the body, but mephedrone destroys the mind.
"It's a slippery slope when you start playing with the mind, and sometimes there's no return from it."
Through Chooselife and its work, Mr Andrews comes face to face with the reality of drugs use, and said the speed at which mephedrone can take its toll on a user was scary.
"We know someone who used it for four weeks and they had to be admitted to a psychiatric unit," he said.
"They didn't even know who their close friends or family were — that's how much it had affected their mind.
"There are a lot of stories from around the UK which are similar to this. Myself and other agencies are dealing with people who are in psychosis from using the drug."
Adding to Mr Andrews's concern is the age at which some users start taking the drug, with some reportedly embarking on the slippery slope while still in primary school.
"People are taking it so young because it's so easily accessible," he said. "A message needs to go out that this drug is not OK.
"Heroin is grown naturally, but this is created in a factory — it's a Frankenstein drug and nobody knows fully what the effects are.
"It can screw with the mind like no drug before, and that's my biggest fear."
To sign the petition visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/37966.