Senior officer in appeal for information on meow meow dealers
POLICE have hailed the Evening Post for highlighting the increasing problem of the drug meow meow in Swansea — and issued a new appeal for people with information about dealers to contact them.
In a series of features this week, police, hospital staff, drug agencies and even users have told of the dangers of the drug which was only outlawed two years ago.
Officers have spoken of serious concerns about the rising use of the drug, otherwise known as mephedrone, and the effect it was having on the city — particularly its association with violence.
Staff at Morriston Hospital confirmed they are seeing more and more people admitted to their Accident and Emergency department having taken the drug, and also highlighted the violence that is associated with it.
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The features followed an admission by Swansea Superintendent Phil Davies that South Wales Police have witnessed a big increase in its use over the past 12 months, and are facing daily issues with people taking the drug. And he has now reiterated his warning about meow meow — and urged anyone with information about its use to contact police.
Mr Davies, head of operational policing in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, said: "The Evening Post has helped to raise the profile of the issue of meow meow use in our part of south Wales, and we are grateful for that. We have also welcomed information we have received from the public about meow meow use, and want to thank those who have come forward.
"There are massive health issues around meow meow. We are seeing people who have taken meow meow becoming involved with violence, and having no memory of doing so.
"It is a dangerous, powerful stimulant, being sold by some dealers as a 'party drug', but that could not be further from the truth. We are seeing people arrested and hospitalised through its use every day.
"I would just like to urge members of the public keeping getting in touch, and tell us what you know, to help us keep this nasty drug off our streets."
Mr Davies said he had spoken to colleagues in Bridgend and Cardiff about meow meow use, and that the drug was only a major issue in the western half of the force.
It is believed one of the problems in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot is heroin users switching to mephedrone, because the supply of heroin on the streets has been dramatically cut following the police's ongoing Heroin Ruins Lives blitz.
Police in Carmarthenshire have expressed similar concerns as the popularity of the drug continues to soar, with Dyfed-Powys Police recording a 400 per cent rise in offences involving the drug.
The head of Swansea Drugs Project, Ifor Glyn, revealed that in 20 years of experience, he had never seen a drug become so popular so quickly.
Mr Glyn said: "I have never seen a drug become so widespread and so quickly. It has taken me by surprise. The side effects are similar to ecstasy, amphetamine and cocaine. Users have been injecting it. They have been complaining of abscesses, of it burning when they've injected, and of their veins collapsing, it is quite horrific. People don't know what is in it — it is made entirely of chemicals."
The project is hosting another education session about meow meow, open to everyone, on October 25, at 2pm.
Anyone with queries or concerns about meow or any other drugs can contact the project on 01792 472002.
Anyone with information for police should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously.