'Meow meow is sold at schools for 10p a time'
MEOW meow is being sold to schoolchildren in Swansea for as a little as 10p a time, drug agencies have been told.
The shocking claim follows concerns from police and hospital workers that the city is facing a growing problem with the formerly legal drug, otherwise known as mephedrone.
Staff working for Swansea’s Substance Misuse Action Team (Smat) have confirmed they too are seeing increasing reports of the drug being used by the people it sees, including reports of young people being targeted.
Smat chair Eddie Isles said: “Mephedrone is without question a concern, but it is not just meow meow.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
“There are a whole range of new drugs on the scene, whose chemical composition varies slightly.
“If a substance is made illegal, the composition is changed to stay ahead of the law, and if something is passed as legal, it can lead to a substantial problem.
“If young people know something is legal, then the next step for them is that it can’t do you any harm. But if people equate legal with not harmful, they are way off the mark.
“In some cases, it is very, very cheap, and we are hearing anecdotally that people have been selling meow meow outside the school gates for as little as 10p a line.”
Smat is part of the Safer Swansea Partnership, and offers support and treatment to drug users and their families.
In addition to chairing Smat, Mr Isles has also encountered reports of meow meow use in his role as manager of Swansea’s Youth Offending Service, which works to prevent offending, and with people who have come to the attention of the courts and police.
He added: “Young people have a tendency to experiment, and they have undoubtedly been making more use of this drug.
“Well established heroin users have been moving to meow meow, and have been reporting they feel worse than with heroin.
“It is very scary for young people. There are potential brain issues for young people. Children develop different parts of their brains later on, such as the ability to empathise with other people.
“There are concerns about the serious long term impacts of using the drug, the impact on the brain and how people engage with other people, their perception of other people, and reducing inhibitions towards violence.
“We know of quite serious violent behaviour from young people never involved with violence otherwise.
“We have perhaps been a bit late with addressing this drug, partly because we have been overwhelmed with the problems of heroin, perhaps we were blindsided by this.
“The last time I saw something like it was when benzodiazepine used to be widely abused, and mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
“But we are catching up, and I am confident that we are addressing this issue now, and certainly police have been very pro-active in getting people on their wavelength.”