Town is named in top ten hotspots for drug
CARMARTHEN and Ammanford have been named among the top ten hotspots for the drug mephedrone.
Police say the substance, also known as meow meow or Mcat, is more than twice as prevalent in Wales as it was 12 months ago.
They are keen to debunk the myth that the substance is a 'safe' or 'party' drug.
A study by organised crime police taskforce Operation Tarian shows a 165 per cent increase in offences involving the drug in a year in Wales.
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Detective Superintendent Rhiannon Kirk, of the task force's regional intelligence unit, said: "This is an emerging problem.
"And what's particularly worrying is the public perception of mephedrone in Wales, which is that it's somehow a safer drug or a party drug, and that's just not the case — it's a myth.
"It's a dangerous drug and should be seen as such.
"There's nothing glamorous about mephedrone, meow meow, or Mcat, whatever you want to call it, it's a dirty drug."
The drug was legal until 2010, when it was reclassified.
It has a list of potential side-effects, including fits, memory loss, heart problems, hallucinations and brain damage.
In a list of the top ten hotspots in Wales compiled by the police task force, four are in Carmarthenshire.
Carmarthen is eighth, Burry Port seventh, Ammanford fifth while Llanelli is first.
Hywel Dda Health Board's lead consultant in emergency care, Jeremy Williams, said doctors were aware of an increase in the problem.
He said: "We have observed a small increase in the number of people presenting for emergency and unscheduled care following abuse of mephedrone.
"We would always discourage the public from putting their health, and potentially their lives, in danger by abusing substances in this way.
"Additionally, we would urge people to consider the adverse affect this sort of misuse has on the NHS and other patients who need to access our emergency and unscheduled care services."
He added: "The negative effects can vary from one individual to another, but we have had to admit some patients into hospital.
"Often this is for observational purposes, but sometimes there are complications, for example if a cocktail of substances has been used, if alcohol is involved or if the user of the drug has other health problems.
"Worryingly, we have also seen some patients who have injected the drug, resulting in an abscess formation."